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This volume, which is the first history pubHshed of the 
celebrated criminal cases in America, includes the most im- 
portant cases during the past eighty years. 

They have been collected after years of systematic inves- 
tigation and verified with the assistance of police officials 
throughout America, without whose co-operation an authentic 
history would be impossible. 

The hundred and ten cases presented in this volume should 
prove interesting to the general reader because of the psycho- 
logical and, in many cases, the historical interest which attaches 
to them. 

This book also contains a brief history of the San Fran- 
cisco Police Department from the date of its organization ; an 
accurate history of the far-famed Vigilance Committee ; the 
Kearney riots; the life of Chief Justice Terry, including the 
famous duel in which he killed United States Senator Broder- 
ick and his tragic death while assaulting Justice Field of the 
United States Supreme Court; also a synopsis of the police 
and municipal history of the great earthquake and fire, which 
contains much information which has not heretofore been 

While this volume will show that in some instances fabu- 
lous amounts of money have been unlawfully obtained, it will 
also show that retribution invariably overtakes the professional 
criminal and brings with it untold misery and degradation. 

Although there are isolated cases where the perpetrator of 
an atrocious crime succeeds in escaping the iron hand of the 
law, there is one court he cannot escape, and that is the one 
"whose findings are incontrovertible and whose sessions are 
held in the chambers of his own breast." 

The dread of discovery is constantly with him by day and 
by night, and who can doubt but that he finally concludes that 
even an ignominious death on a scaffold would be preferable 
to such a miserable existence. 

A perusal of this volume will show that, while many of 

the most desperate characters have inherited their criminal ten- 
dencies, environment frequently transforms an ideal youth into 
a veritable fiend. 

To the police officials and others who have supplied me 
with valuable information and photographs of criminals, I 
hereby acknowledge my gratitude, especially to the following 
named gentlemen: 

Assistant Superintendent of Police Schuettler of Chicago, 
Mr. William Pinkerton, Detective Frank Geyer of Philadel- 
phia (who investigated the case of Holmes, the "Criminal of 
the Century"), Mr. James McParland of Mollie Maguire 
fame, Captain Harry Morse, Theodore Kytka, the handwriting 
expert ; Sergeant John Moffitt and Photographer George Blum 
of the San Francisco police. Captain of Detectives Walter 
Peterson of Oakland, and last but not least, to the affable Mr. 
J. H. Deering of the San Francisco Law Library. 

Captain of Police, San Francisco. 

October 2, 1910. 



San Francisco Cases. 


History of San Francisco Police Department ... 3 

Famous Vigilance Committee and Battles With Squatters 15 
Murder of San Francisco Police Officers, Killed in Discharge 

of Duty 27 

The Famous Duel in Which U. S. Senator Broderick Was 

Killed by Judge Terry — the Tragic End of the Latter While 

Assaulting Justice Field of U. S. Supreme Court . . .53 

The Denis Kearney Riots 61 

John Byrnes, Who Killed a Man for an Imitation Diamond 63 

The Killing of Attorney Crittenden by Laura D. Fair . . 65 
The Sensational Flight and Capture of Banker J. C. Duncan, 

Charged with Embezzlement. 67 

Geo. Wheeler, "the Strangler." 68 

The Murder of Capitalist Skerrett by Attorney LeRoy . 70 
The Mysterious Deaths of Mrs. Dr. Milton Bowers and Her 

Brother, Henry Benhayon. 74 

The Murder of Mamie Kelly by Alexander Goldensen . . 84 
The Murder of Samuel Jacobsen by Sydney Bell . . .86 

Murder of Addie Gilmour, Whose Head Was Found in the Bay. 91 

Midnight Murder on the Bark Hesper 95 

The Killing of Harry Poole by Truly Shattuck's Mother . 96 
The Murder of the Aged Mrs. Langfeldt by Joseph Blanther, 

a former Lieutenant in the Austrian Army . . . .98 
The Murder of Cashier Herrick of S. F. Savings Union by 

W. Fredericks 104 

The Chinese Highbinders and the Celebrated Lee Chuck and 

"Little Pete" Murder Cases— The Race Track Fraud . . 105 
The Murders of Blanche Lamont and Minnie Williams in a 

Church by Durrant 114 

The Becker-Creegan Gang of Forgers . . . . . 123 

Albert "Hoff," Murderer of Mrs. Clute 126 

Butler, the Australian Murderer, Captured in San Francisco . 130 


Frank Millet, Who Enticed a Tramp Into the Home of Mr. 
Franklin and Then Killed Him, Claiming He Was a Burglar 131 

Cordelia Botkin, who Murdered Mrs. Dunning and Mrs. Deane 
in Delaware With Poisoned Candy Sent Through the Mail 133 

The Murder of Nora Fuller by a Degenerate. .139 

The Murderous Career of Leon Soeder 148 

The Tragic End of Murderer Milton F. Andrews and His 

Paramour in San Francisco 152 

Tortorica, the Murderer of Vilardo 156 

Martha Bowers, Who Poisoned Her Husband. . . .158 
The Brilliant Attorney George D. Collins, Bigamist and Per- 
jurer. • . . ^61 

History of the Great Earthquake and Fire From Police and 

Municipal Records 164 

Seimsen and Dabner, the "Gas Pipe" Thugs Who Terrorized 
San Francisco 177 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast. 

Joaquin Murieta, Tiburcio Vasquez, Juan Soto and Other 

Mexican Bandits Who Operated in California. . . 189 

The Murder of G. W. Hirsch by His Partner Ed. Bonney at 

East Oakland 210 

Career of the Notorious Lloyd Majors and Sons . 212 

Soederberg, the Oakland Matricide 219 

The Murder of Officer Fenton of Oakland by a Thief Who 

Was Killed Immediately Afterward 220 

The Mysterious Murder of Mrs. Donohue at Emeryville, Cal 221 
Mat Kennedy, Thief and Murderer with International Repu- 
tation, Killed in Berkeley, Cal 226 

Jacob Oppenheimer, the "Human Tiger." .229 

Mrs. Emma Ladoux, Who Murdered McVicar at Stockton, Cal. 233 
Wm. Wells, Who Murdered M. Wetzell in Sacramento, Cal., 

and Subsequently Killed His Three Guards. .238 
The Remarkable Case of Circumstantial Evidence Against 
Charles Mortimer, Who Murdered Mrs. Gibson in Sacra- 
mento, Cal. 240 



The Murder of Capitalist TulHs by Public Administrator Troy- 
Dye at Sacramento, Cal 244 

The Russian Nihilists Who Murdered Mr. and Mrs. Weber at 
Sacramento, Cal. 248 

The Remarkable Career of Browning and Brady, the Train 
Robbers 253 

Adolph Weber, Who Murdered His Father, Mother, Sister 
and Brother in Auburn, Cal 260 

Black Bart, the Stage Robber 263 

The Foul Murder of Mr. and Mrs. Wickersham Near Clover- 
dale, Cal 266 

The Lynching of Five Apparently Innocent Persons in Modoc 
County, Cal. 270 

Murder of Dr. Powers in San Benito County. . . . 272 

Career of Evans and Sontag, the Bandits 276 

John C. Dunham, Who Murdered His Wife and Five Others 
Near San Jose, Cal 287 

The Murder of Banker Cummings During Robbery of Eureka, 
Cal., Stage. 290 

John Winters, Who Stole Bullion Valued at Nearly $300,000 
From Selby Smelting Works, Cal 291 

Tom Blanck, the Desperado Killed Near Seattle, Wash. . 292 

Operations of the Fiendish Harry Tracey and Dave Merrill in 
Oregon and Washington. . 296 

Celebrated Cases East of the Pacific Coast. 

Alfred Packer, Who Murdered Five Fellow Prospectors in 
Colorado, Stole Their Money and Ate Their Flesh. . 307 

The Dalton Brothers, Bandits 312 

The Assassination of Joe Smith, Founder of the Mormon 
Church and the Massacre of 150 Emigrants by Bishop John 
Lee and Party at Mountain Meadow 319 

The Murder of James Hay in Salt Lake City and His Father- 
in-Law's Remarkable Vision 327 

Harry Orchard, Who Murdered Governor Stuenenburg of 
Idaho and Eighteen Others 332 

The Hideous Murders Committed at Bender's Tavern in 
Kansas 348 



The Diabolical Plot Concocted by Dr. B. C. Hyde of Kansas 
City to Gain Control of Col. Swope's Millions. . 354 

The Quantrill, Jesse James and Younger Brothers Gang of 
Bandits 368 

The Outrages Committed by the Sioux Indians in Minnesota, 
for Which Thirty-Eight Leaders Were Convicted and 
Hanged 388 

Haymarket Riot in Chicago in Which Eight Officers Were 
Killed and Sixty-Eight Wounded 395 

The Celebrated Murder of Dr. Cronin, the Clan-na-gael Leader 
in Chicago 406 

The Murder of Mayor Carter Harrison of Chicago . 419 

Adolph Leutgert, Who Murdered His Wife and Dissolved Her 
Body in a Vat in Chicago 421 

The Car Barn Bandits Who Terrorized Chicago. . 426 

Johann Hock, the Bigamist, Who Murdered Several "Wives" in 
the Vicinity of Chicago 431 

Mrs. Belle Gunness, Who Conducted the Murder Farm Near 
La Porte, Ind., and Who, with Her Three Children, Was 
Subsequently Murdered, Presumably by Ray Lamphere, Her 
Hired Man 437 

Murder of Chief of Police Hennessey in New Orleans and the 
Killing of Eleven Suspects for Which the U. S. Government 
Paid Indemnities 444 

Career of Mudgett, Alias Dr. Holmes, the "Criminal of the Cen- 
tury." 447 

Marion Hedspeth, St. Louis Train Robber 468 

Assassination of President Lincoln 469 

Assassination of President Garfield 480 

Assassination of President McKinley. 483 

Celebrated Trunk Murder in St. Louis in Which San Francisco 

Police Took a Prominent Part. . . . ' . . . 486 
Murder of Captain White in Salem, Mass., and First and Last 
Part of Daniel Webster's Famous Argument to the Trial 
Jury 496 

Murder of Governor Goebel of Kentucky 509 

Murder of Lyman Gage's Ward, Mrs. Woodill, in Maryland 516 

The Mollie Magruires in Pennsylvania 521 

The Kidnaping of Little Charley Ross near Philadelphia and 

the Tragic End of the Kidnapers 536 

The Kidnaping of Billy Whitla at Sharon, Pa. . . . 546 


'he Murder of Dr. Parkman in Boston by Professor Webster 

of Harvard College 551 

fesse Pomeroy of Boston, a Fourteen-year-old Fiend. . . 558 

{The Celebrated Trial in Boston of Sailor Holmes Who Threw 
Fourteen Passengers Overboard From an Overcrowded Life 
boat 562 

|Two Biddle Brothers, Murderers, Who Escaped From a Pitts- 
burg Jail, Joined by the Wife of the Warden. The Tragic 

End of the Trio 565 

The Sensational Murder of the Beautiful and Accomplished, 

but Wayward, Helen Jewett in New York .... 568 
^he Mysterious Murder of the Beautiful Mary Rogers in New 
York Upon Which Edgar Allan Poe Founded his Famous 
Story "The Murder of Marie Roget." 577 

[The Murder of Samuel Adams in New York by John Colt, a 
Personal Friend of the Author of "Home, Sweet Home" . . 582 

[The Bloody Riot in New York Which Resulted From the 
Rivalry Between the Celebrated Tragedians, Forrest and 
•Macready. . . . 585 

[Mysterious Murder of Dr. Burdell in New York and Mrs. 
Cunningham's Remarkable Scheme to Procure the Estate 589 

[The Murder of Pugilist Bill Poole in New York. . . .592 

[The Famous Draft Riots in New York in Which Over 500 
Rioters Were Killed 594 

^Captain Gordan, the Slave Trader Who Kidnaped 897 Slaves, 
Who Were Imprisoned in the Hold of His Vessel, 18 Dying 
From Suffocation 602 

[The Celebrated McFarland-Richardson Murder Trial in New 
York 605 

[Murderer Sharkey's Sensational Escape From New York's 
Tombs 611 

[Hicks, the Pirate, Who Slaughtered the Whole Crew of the 
Sloop E. A. Johnson 613 

[Career of George Bidwell, including Bank of England Forgery 615 

[Record of Jimmy Hope, Including Manhattan Bank Robbery 624 

[Sensational Killing of Col. Jim Fiske, Jay Gould's Business 
Associate, by the Aristocratic Ed. Stokes 629 

[Attorney Albert Patrick, Who Murdered Multi-Millionaire Rice 
in New York — a Remarkable Conspiracy .... 635 

[Murder of William Guldensuppe of New York. . . . 641 

[The Case of Harry Thaw, Who Killed Stanford White. . 644 

[Murder of Elsie Sigel in New York Chinatown by Her Ad- 
mirer Leong Ling . 652 


City Marshals and Chiefs of San Francisco Police ... 3 

Broderick, David, former United States Senator, killed by 
Judge Terry 15 

Terry, David S., former Chief Justice of California Supreme 
Court 15 

Coleman, Wm. T., leader of San Francisco Vigilance Commit- 
tee and "Pickhandlc Brigade" 15 

Kearney, Denis 15 

Famous American Detectives. 

Byrnes, Thomas, former Chief of New York Police . 
Lees, Isaiah W., former Chief of San Francisco Police 
McParland, James, of Mollie Maguire fame 
Pinkcrton, Allen, organizer U. S. Secret Service 
Pinkerton, Wm., Chief of Pinkerton Agency 
Schuettler, Herman F., Assistant Chief Chicago Police 


San Francisco Criminals. 

Andrews, Milton F., murderer 68 

Becker, Charles, forger 98 

Bell, Sydney, murderer and robber 68 

Botkin, Mrs. Cordelia, murderess 68 

Blanther, Joseph, murderer 98 

Byrne, John, murderer 98 

Dabner, Louis, gaspipe thug 68 

Durrant, Theodore, church belfry murderer .... 68 
Fredericks, Wm., bank robber and murderer .... 276 
Hadley, Charles, suspected murderer of Nora Fuller .98 

Hope, Jimmy, notorious American bank robber .98 

"Hoff," murderer of Mrs. Clute 68 

Le Roy, Wright, murderer 212 

Miller, Frank, suspected murderer 212 

"Pete," Little, notorious Chinese "highbinder" .... 68 
Seimsen, John, "gaspipe thug" 68 


Soeder, Leon, murderer 68 

Wheeler, the Strangler 68 

Whiteman, Alonzo, ex-Senator and forger 98 

Pacific Coast Criminals. 

"Black Bart," "gentleman" stage robber 98 

Butler, Australian murderer captured in San Francisco . . 307 
Brady and Browning, train robbers and murderers . . . 212 
"Carl the Bum," who found $53,000 of Browning and Brady's 

loot 212 

Dunham, John, multi-murderer 212 

Evans, Chris, bandit 276 

Kennedy, Mathew, notorious murderer and thief . , . 307 

Kovolov, Ivan, Russian murderer 307 

Ladoux, Emma, murderess 98 

Majors, Abe, murderer and highwayman 212 

Majors, Lloyd, murderer 212 

Merrill, Dave, murderer and jail breaker 276 

Oppenheimer, Jake, murderous fiend 276 

Sontag, George, bandit 276 

Sontag, John, bandit 276 

Soto, Juan, Mexican bandit 98 

Tracey, Harry, jail breaker and multi-murderer . . . 276 

Vasquez, Tiburcio, Mexican bandit 98 

Weber, Adolph, murderer of four relatives .... 212 
Winters, John, stole nearly $300,000 from Selby's ... 98 

Criminals East of Pacific Coast. 

Becker, Adolph, Chicago 421 

Bidwell, George, Bank of England forger 307 

"Carbarn bandits," Chicago 421 

Cronin murder case, defendants in 406 

Czolgosz, murderer of President McKinley .... 307 

Dalton, Bob, bandit 276 

Dalton, Gratton, bandit 276 

Gunness, Belle, multi-murderess 421 

Haymarket riot conspirators 395 

Hedgepeth, Marion, train robber and informer on Holmes . . 421 
Hock, Johann, murderer of many "wives" .... 421 

Hyde, Dr., murderer of Col. Swope 307 

Jesse James gang of bandits 368 

Lamphere, Ray, murderer of Gunness family .... 421 

Leon Ling, murderer of Elsie Sigel 307 

Lcutgert, boiled wife's body in vat in Chicago .421 

Lincoln case conspirators 469 

Orchard, Harry, murderer of Gov. Stuenenburg and 18 others 307 
Packer, the murderer and cannibal 307 

i I 












eLECTED tHltF IN 1858 








<^ 1878-1500 -^ 





(From "Annals of San Francisco" and Police Records.) 

Under the laws of Mexico, an Alcalde had entire control 
of municipal aflfairs and administered justice pretty much 
according to his own ideas without being tied down entirely 
to precedents and formal principles of law. 

Lieutenant W. Bartlett, U. S. N., was the first Alcalde of 
San Francisco under the American flag. 

When the Americans seized this part of the country from 
the Mexicans, the old order of things prevailed until peace 
was declared and a constitution was adopted. 

On January 30, 1847, the following "Ordinance" ap- 
peared in the "California Star" : 

"An Ordinance. 

"Whereas, the local name of Yerba Buena, as applied to 
the settlement or town of San Francisco, is unknown beyond 
the district ; and has been applied from the local name of the 
cove on which the town is built: Therefore, to prevent con- 
fusion and mistakes in public documents, and that the town 
may have the advantage of the name given on the public map, 
"It is hereby ordained, that the name of San Francisco 
shall hereafter be used in all official communications and pub- 
lic documents, or records appertaining to the town. 

"Wash'n a. Bartlett, 

"Chief Magistrate. 
"Published by order. 

"J. G. T. Dunleavy, Municipal Clerk." 

The population of the town at that time was 459. 

On February 22, 1847, Alcalde Bartlett was succeeded 
by Edwin Bryant, who held office only a few months, when 
he resigned and Military Governor Mason appointed Mr. 
George Hyde to fill the vacancy. 

On August 15, 1847, the Governor issued an order to 
Alcalde Hyde as follows: 

"There is wanted in San Francisco an efficient town gov- 
ernment, more so than is in the power of an Alcalde to put in 

4 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

force. There may be soon expected a large number of whalers 
in your bay, and a large increase of your population by the 
arrival of immigrants. It is therefore highly necessary that 
you should at an early day have an efficient town police, proper 
town laws, town officers, etc., for enforcement of the laws, 
for the preservation of order, and for the proper protection 
of persons and property. 

"I therefore desire that you call a town meeting for the 
election of six persons, who when elected shall constitute the 
town council, and who in conjunction with the Alcalde shall 
constitute the town authorities until the end of the year 1848. 

"All the municipal laws and regulations will be framed 
by the council, but executed by the Alcalde in his judicial ca- 
pacity as at present. 

"The first Alcalde will preside at all meetings of the 
council, but shall have no vote, except in cases where the 
votes are equally divided. 

"The town council (not less than four of whom shall con- 
stitute a quorum for the transaction of business), to appoint 
all the town officers, such as treasurer, constables, watchmen, 
etc., and to determine their pay, fees, etc. 

"No soldier, sailor or marine, nor any person who is not 
a bona fide resident of the town shall be allowed to vote for 
a member of the town council." 

On September 13 the election was held. As soon as the 
result was known, the newly elected councilmen entered upon 
the duties of their office. Six constables were appointed to 
preserve the peace. 

On January 11, 1848, a law was passed providing that 
"all money found on a gambling table shall be seized for the 
benefit of the town," but this was repealed shortly afterward 
and for several years gambling games were permitted to run 
openly and were licensed. In 1853 there were 537 places 
in San Francisco where liquor was sold, 46 of which had 
gambling houses attached. The leading gambling-places at 
that time were the "El Dorado," located at the present Hall of 
Justice site opposite Portsmouth Square, and "The Arcade" and 
"Poker" Clubs on Commercial Street. Women were permitted 
to play and refreshments were served. Coin was scarce, but 
bags of gold dust furnished a circulating medium which an- 
swered all purposes. Many of the smaller games were con- 
ducted in tents. 

San Francisco Cases 

^^■o 5,000 inhabitants, but the only police protection consisted of 
^Kix undisciplined constables. About this time an organization 
^" of ruffians known as the "Hounds" terrorized the whole com- 
munity. They assisted each other in sickness or peril and 
elected one Sam Roberts as their leader. They committed all 
the crimes on the calendar with impunity and met with their 
woman associates in a tent called "Tammany Hall." 

On Sunday, July 15, 1849, their conduct became unbear- 
able. On the following Monday a mass meeting of law-abid- 
ing citizens was called by Alcalde Leavenworth at Portsmouth 
Square. Subscriptions were taken to buy rifles. Two hun- 
dred and thirty citizens became volunteer policemen, and W. E. 
Spofford was elected leader. 

That same day twenty "Hounds" were arrested, and Sam 
Roberts was captured while attempting to escape to Stockton. 
The prisoners were taken on board the U. S. S. "Warren," 
as there was no suitable jail on shore. 

A second meeting was called for Monday night and Dr. 
William Gwin and James Ward were elected Judges to try 
the prisoners. Horace Hawes was elected District Attorney 
and Hall McAllister assistant. 

A "Grand Jury" was appointed and "indictments" were 
found. The trials were conducted with dignity and impartial- 
ity. All were convicted, and Roberts, the leader, was sen- 
tenced to serve 10 years in any prison the Governor selected. 

This put an end to the "Hounds" and to lawlessness for 
about one year and the volunteer police force disbanded. 

On April 1, 1849, Colonel John W. Geary, of Mexican 
war fame, arrived in San Francisco on the steamship "Ore- 
gon," which was the second steamship to arrive in San Fran- 
cisco harbor. He had been appointed Postmaster of San 
Francisco by President Polk and given power to create post- 
offices and establish mail routes. 

On August 1 of the same year he was nominated for Al- 
calde and received 1,516 votes, being the entire number cast. 
No candidate could be found to run against him. 

Having a lively recollection of the outrages committed by 
the "Hounds" some months previous, Alcalde Geary and the 

6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

town council proceeded to organize a police force, and on 
August 10, 1849, Malachi Fallon was appointed City Mar- 
shal and placed in command of a force consisting of twelve 

In 1850 the population of San Francisco increased to 
about 15.000. The New Charter was adopted in that year 
and on May 1 an election for City officers was held. 

Colonel Geary was elected the first Mayor of the City 
and Malachi Fallon was elected City Marshal. 

On April 28, 1851, Robert G. Crozier was elected to suc- 
ceed Marshal Fallon. The summary methods employed to 
subdue the "Hounds" kept that element within bounds for 
about a year. 

In 1850, immigrants swarmed into the town and by 1851 
it was estimated that the population had reached 30.000 peo- 
ple. Among these immigrants were many of the most des- 
perate criminals in the country, and the result was that a 
series of depredations were committed which struclc terror to 
the hearts of the law-abiding citizens. 

The police force, consisting of twelve men, was regarded 
with contempt by the criminal class and conditions were grow- 
ing worse daily. 

On December 24, 1849, and on May 4 and June 14, 1850, 
great conflagrations swept over large portions of the territory 
bounded by Jackson, Dupont and California Streets and the 
waters of the bay, which resulted in an aggregate loss approx- 
imately estimated at $4,000,000. 

As the criminal class began to plunder simultaneously with 
the breaking out of the flames, it was strongly suspected that 
they had set the fires to give them this opportunity. A reward 
of $5,000 was offered for the apprehension and conviction of 

* Fallon was born in Ireland in 1814. When a child he moved 
to New York City and in 1839 he was made Keeper of the famous 
"Tombs," where many celebrated criminals have been incarcer- 
ated. He held this position until 1848 when he started west. On 
February 28th, 1849, Fallon and about four hundred others, in- 
cluding D. W. C. Thompson, who also served as City Marshal, 
entered San Francisco bay on the Pacific Mail steamship "Cali- 
fornia." This side-wheeler was the first steamship to enter the 
harbor, and the citizens gathered at the wharf to give her a 
"California" welcome. 

San Francisco Cases 7 

any of the incendiaries, and although several arrests were made 
no convictions were obtained. 

Finally on June 18, 1851, a great number of the leading 
citizens determined to take the law into their own hands and 
as a result, the far-famed Vigilance Committee was organized. 
(See History Vigilance Committee.) 

Marshal Crozier, realizing his utter helplessness with the 
inadequate force at his command, demanded that the depart- 
ment be reorganized and strengthened. 

His demand was heeded and on July 26, 1851, the depart- 
ment was reorganized and increased to fifty men, including 
Hampton North and John McKenzie, both of whom after- 
ward served as City Marshal. The department was also pro- 
vided with two Captains and two assistant Captains. In 1852 
Hampton North was made assistant Captain. 

A few months after the election in April, 1851, a dispute 
arose regarding the wording of the New Charter. Those op- 
posed to the officers in power contended that the law required 
that another election be held for City officers in September, 
five months after the last election, but those in office disre- 
garded the claim and refused to place a ticket in the field. 
The result was that a new set of officers were "elected," in- 
cluding D. W. Thompson, who ran for City Marshal. The 
courts subsequently decided, however, that this last election 
was illegal. 

On November 2, 1852, Crozier was again elected City 
Marshal. On September 14, 1853, Brandt Seguine was elected 
to succeed Crozier. As Seguine was sick from July 19 to 
August 1, 1854, Assistant Captain Hampton North acted as 

On October 28, 1853, the Board of Aldermen passed Or- 
dinance No. 466, which provided for the reorganization of 
the police department. 

Sections one and two provided as follows : 

"The People of the City of San Francisco do ordain as 
follows : 

"Sec. 1. The Police Department of the City of San 
Francisco, shall be composed of a day and night police, con- 

8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

sisting of 56 men (including a Captain and assistant Captain), 
each to be recommended by at least ten tax-paying citizens. 

"Sec. 2. There shall be one Captain and one assistant 
Captain of Police, who shall be elected in joint convention of 
the Board of Aldermen and assistant Aldermen. The re- 
mainder of the force, viz., 54 men, shall be appointed as fol- 

"By the Mayor, 2; by the City Marshal, 2; by the City 
Recorder, 2; and by the Aldermen and assistant Aldermen, 
3 each." 

Among the three men appointed by Alderman John Night- 
engale was Isaiah W. Lees, who came to San Francisco with 
Nightengale and for nearly half a century after joining the 
department was recognized at home and abroad as one of 
the greatest detectives in America. 

In September, 1854, Officer John W. McKenzie was 
elected City Marshal. Twelve months later Hampton North 
was nominated on the "Know Nothing" party ticket and was 
elected to succeed McKenzie. 

In May, 1856, the Vigfilantes again became dissatisfied 
with the manner in which justice was being administered, espe- 
cially after the jury disagreed in the case of Cora, who killed 
United States Marshal Richardson, and the cowardly murder 
of James King of William by Supervisor James Casey. The 
committee therefore resolved to resume operations. (See His- 
tory of Vigilance Committee.) 

Marshal North was bitterly opposed to the methods of 
the Vigilantes, so that organization formed a private police 
force of which James Curtis was made Chief. 

In July, 1856, the "Consolidation Act" went into effect. 
This act abolished the office of City Marshal and created in 
its stead the office of Chief of Police. 

Under this law the force was increased to 150 men, and 
the Chief (whose office was elective), the Mayor and Police 
Judge constituted the Police Commission, which had full power 
to appoint, promote, disrate or dismiss members of the de- 

Immediately after the Consolidation Act went into effect. 
Marshal North's office being abolished, J. McElroy was ap- 


San Francisco Cases 9 

pointed to act as Chief until the election in the following No- 

About the time that North became a private citizen, the 
Vigilantes received information that as City Marshal, North 
had permitted certain violations of the law, and it was sug- 
gested that he lose no time in leaving San Francisco. North 
acted on the suggestion and was never seen in San Francisco 

On November 4, 1856, the first election was held under 
the Consolidation Act and James Curtis, Chief of the Vigi- 
lantes' force, was elected the first Chief of Police. 

He held office until 1858, when he was succeeded by Mar- 
tin Burke, who held office until 1865, after which he became 
identified with the real estate firm of Madison & Burke. 

Patrick Crowley, who was a constable in 1859, followed 
Burke and held office until 1874, when he was succeeded by 
Theodore Cockrill. In 1876 Cockrill gave way to H, H. 
Ellis, who had served for many years as a detective with 
Captain Lees.* 

On April 3, 1876, the Legislature passed "An Act to create 
a City Criminal Court in San Francisco." All cases where 
persons charged with misdemeanors demanded jury trials, and 
all persons indicted for misdemeanors, were assigned to this 
court. Section 7 of this act provided that: 

"The Judge of the City Criminal Court and the County 
Judge of San Francisco are hereby made ex-officio Police 
Commissioners of said City and County and said Commission 
shall, from and after the passage of this act, consist of the 
Mayor, Police Judge, Chief of Police, Judge of City Criminal 
Court and County Judge, and shall receive no compensation 
as such Commissioners." 

The last Commission under this law consisted of Mayor 

* On the morning of September 12, 1859, Lees and Ellis learned 
that the duel between United States Senator David Broderick and 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court David Terry was to be fought 
near Lake Merced. They arrived on the ground just as the 
weapons were being handed to the men and placed them under 
arrest. The case was dismissed by Judge Coon that day and on 
the following day the duel was fought in the same neighborhood 
and Broderick was killed. These same officers afterward arrested 
Terry. (See history of Broderick-Terry duel.) 

10 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

A. J. Bryant, County Judge Selden S. Wright, City Criminal 
Judge Robert Ferral, Chief Kirkpatrick and Police Judge Da- 
vis Louderback. 

In 1878 John Kirkpatrick was elected Chief. Although 
San Francisco had developed into a large city, the Consolida- 
tion Act provided that the police force should not exceed one 
hundred and fifty officers. While Kirkpatrick was Chief the 
so-called "Kearney riots" occurred, and it soon became evi- 
dent that the police force was entirely too small to handle the 
situation. (See History of Kearney Riots.) 

Frank McCoppin, who was formerly the superintendent 
of the steam road which ran out Market and Hayes streets, and 
who afterward served as Supervisor and Mayor of the City, 
was a State Senator at the time of these riots and he intro- 
duced a bill which provided: 

1st: "That the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco 
be granted power to increase the police force from 1 50 to 400 

2nd : "That the Judges of the Fourth, Twelfth and Fif- 
teenth Judicial Districts be empowered to choose three rep- 
utable citizens of San Francisco who, together with the Chief 
of Police, shall constitute the Police Commission." 

3rd: "That this Board shall have all the powers and 
supersede the Board provided for in 'An act to create a City 
Criminal Court in San Francisco.' " And 

4th: "That at the expiration of the official term of the 
present Chief of Police, said office shall cease to be elective 
but shall be filled by the Police Commissioners." This act went 
into effect in April, 1878. 

As Chief Kirkpatrick's term did not expire until twenty 
months after the so-called McCoppin Act became effective, he 
continued to serve as Chief for that period. 

The Commissioners selected by the three Judges were 
Robert Tobin of the Hibernia Bank, ex-Mayor William Al- 
vord of the Bank of California, and Major Hammond. 

Kirkpatrick's term expired on December 31, 1879, and ex- 
Chief P. Crowley was appointed Chief of Police. He held this 

San Francisco Cases ii 

office until April 7, 1897, when he retired and was succeeded by 
the veteran Captain of Detectives, I. W. Lees. 

Immediately after Lees' promotion was announced, the 
venerable John Nightengale, who appointed Lees on the force 
forty-five years before, called on the new Chief and insisted 
upon going on his official bond. 

After forty-seven years of brilliant work in the depart- 
ment. Chief Lees was retired on a pension on January 2, 1900. 
His loyalty to his friends, and the manner in which he fre- 
quently antagonized powerful influences by battling for his 
men when he believed them to be in the right, won for him the 
admiration of the entire department. 

The Police Commission, having in mind the fact that the 
New Charter, which gave the Mayor full power to appoint 
Police Commissioners, would go into effect on January 8, 1900, 
it was decided to leave the position of Chief of Police vacant 
and appoint Captain George Wittman as acting Chief until the 
new Commission organized and selected a Chief of Police. 

The first Commission under the new Charter was ap- 
pointed by Mayor James D. Phelan and consisted of George 
Newhall, William J. Biggy, Dr. W. F. McNutt and Attorney 
William Thomas. 

Immediately after their appointment they met and decided 
to delay the appointment of a Chief, but Commissioner Biggy, 
who had formerly served as a State Senator and Registrar of 
Voters, was appointed acting Chief. He served in this capacity 
until February 13, of the same year, when he was removed from 
the department by Mayor Phelan, and Colonel Wm. P. Sulli- 
van, the Mayor's private secretary, was appointed Chief. 

Sullivan died on November 11, 1901, and Captain of Police 
George Wittman was appointed Chief on November 21, 1901. 

During the month of November, 1904, Police Commis- 
sioner Harry Hutton was informed that a Chinese gambling 
game was being conducted at 820 Washington street. On the 
night of November 29, 1904, Hutton telephoned to the Central 
Station and requested that a policeman be sent to his office at 
once. Officer William Minehan was sent and upon arriving at 
the office was instructed to enter a hack with Attorney Grant 
Carpenter and Hutton. They were driven to 820 Washington 

12 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

street, where several Chinese, who were said to have been 
secretly assisting Hutton and Carpenter, and who had access 
to the gambHng places, were stationed. 

When they saw the carriage approach, the Chinese made 
a pretense at passing through the several heavy doors, which 
were ordinarily bolted against the police. Instead of passing 
the doors, a Chinaman stopped by each one leading toward the 
gambling room, and held the same ajar, so that the party had 
an unobstructed passage to the gambling tables when the games 
were in full operation. 

Thomas Ellis was appointed a member of the department 
on April 1, 1886, because, as a citizen, he came to the rescue 
of Captain Lees when the latter was about to be overpowered 
by a desperate criminal he was attempting to arrest. Lees, 
who never forgot a friend, was also instrumental in promoting 
Ellis to the rank of Sergeant. 

At the time of the Hutton raid, Ellis was in charge of 
Chinatown and he was charged with neglect of duty for failing 
to suppress gambling. He was subsequently interrogated by 
the "Andrews" Grand Jury and confessed that he had permit- 
ted gambling in Chinatown for a monetary consideration and 
to corroborate his statement he produced $1100 which he had. 
accepted as bribe money. He was found guilty on February 
15, 1905, and subsequently dismissed from the department. 

On the night Ellis was found guilty. Chief Wittman was 
suspended from duty and the Secretary of the Police Commis- 
sion was instructed to file charges of incompetence against him 
for failing to suppress gambling in Chinatown. After a lengthy 
trial he was dismissed from the department on March 24, 1905. 

Captain John Spillane acted as Chief from the date of 
Wittman's suspension until April 5, 1905, when Detective 
Jerry Dinan was appointed Chief. 

While Dinan was Chief, Attorney Francis J. Heney, and 
Detective Wm. J. Bums, formerly of the United States Secret 
Service, began what was commonly known as the "Graft" in- 
vestigation in San Francisco. 

On November 22, 1906, Dinan was called as a witness be- 
fore the so-called "Oliver" Grand Jury and interrogated by 
Heney in regard to questionable resorts then located at 620 

San Francisco Cases 13 

Jackson street and 714 Pacific street. Because of alleged false 
testimony given on that occasion, Dinan was indicted for per- 

On November 15, 1906, Mayor E. E. Schmitz was indicted 
on a charge of having extorted money from the French restau- 
rant keepers and on June 13, 1907, he was found guilty. On 
March 9, 1908, the Supreme Court decided that the indictment 
did not show that a crime had been committed, thereby sustain- 
ing the opinion rendered by the Court of Appeals on January 
9, 1908. 

Schmitz was removed from office shortly after his convic- 
tion and Edward Robeson Taylor was appointed in his stead. 

On August 22, 1907, the Schmitz Board of Police Com- 
missioners retired and were replaced by a Board appointed by 

Dinan immediately resigned as Chief but retained his posi- 
tion as detective. He was subsequently suspended pending the 
outcome of the perjury charge, but as the court failed to set a 
date for the trial, Francis J. Heney filed charges of unofficerlike 
conduct against Dinan before the Police Commission because 
of the alleged perjured testimony. After hearing the evidence 
the Commission rendered a verdict of not guilty and Dinan was 
restored to duty in the detective office on November 17, 1909. 

On September 13, 1907, former Commissioner William J. 
Biggy was appointed Chief of Police to succeed Dinan. 

On the evening of November 30, 1908, he telephoned to 
Police Commissioner Hugo Keil, who lived across the bay at 
Belvedere, and informed him that he intended to cross the bay 
that night to confer with him (Keil) in relation to important 
police matters. Shortly afterward, the police boat "Patrol" 
hove in sight of Keil's home, which was at the water's edge, 
and Biggy entered Keil's house. 

After a lengthy conference, the Chief returned to the 
"Patrol" and started home ; he and Engineer Murphy being the 
only persons on board. 

About 1 1 :20 p. m. the boat passed Alcatraz Island, and 
Biggy left the cabin in the rear and came forward to chat with 
Murphy, who was running the launch. After a few words, 
Biggy returned toward the cabin. 

14 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

When the boat ncared the wharf, Murphy called to the 
Chief to inform him that they were nearing land. Receiving 
no response, he instituted a search, but all in vain, for Biggy 
was never seen alive again. 

As he was being subjected to very severe criticism about 
this time by those opposed to his policy, it was hinted that he 
committed suicide by jumping overboard, but an inspection of 
the boat showed very clearly that death could have been and 
probably was, accidental. On December 14th, his body was 
found floating near Goat Island. 

On December 26, 1908, Sergeant Jesse B. Cook, commonly 
called "Captain" Cook because of his position as Property 
Qerk of the department, was appointed Chief. 

On the evening of January 27, 1910, Mayor P. H. Mc- 
Carthy removed the three remaining Commissioners appointed 
by Mayor Taylor and appointed I. Spiro, Walter O'Connell and 
Percy Henderson in their stead, H. P. Flannery having been 
appointed to succeed Charles Sweigert on January 8. 

Chief Cook handed in his resignation on the same evening 
and Retired Captain John B. Martin was immediately restored 
to active duty and then appointed Chief of Police. 

San Francisco Cases 15 


(From "Annals of San Francisco" and Hittel's "History of 

While the discovery of gold brought thousands of desira- 
ble citizens to San Francisco it also brought an army of the 
most daring thugs that ever operated in a civilized community. 

In 1851 the population of San Francisco was estimated at 
30,000 inhabitants, and there were over 500 saloons and nearly 
fifty gambling places. The police force, however, consisted 
of only twelve men. These officers were absolutely powerless 
to enforce the law and the criminal element was quick to take 
advantage of the situation. 

On February 19, 1851, two men entered the store of C. J. 
Jansen, apparently to buy blankets, but they assaulted and al- 
most killed the proprietor and took $2,000. 

Thomas Burden was arrested the next day and positively 
identified, as was also one Windred, as being the two assailants. 
On Saturday, February 22, the defendants were in court and a 
mob of 5,000 people attempted to seize and lynch them, but 
were repulsed by the "Washington Guards." Mayor John W. 
Geary delivered an address in which he advised that the law 
be permitted to take its course. 

Finally it was decided that William T. Coleman and eleven 
other citizens should try the men according to their own meth- 
ods. These men could not agree on their guilt, and it was 
subsequently proven that the defendants were innocent, and 
Burden, who was mistaken for James Stuart, the real crim- 
inal, was presented with a sum of money by the citizens to 
compensate him in part for the injustice done him. 

About March, 1851, the criminal element became bolder 
than ever, their headquarters being in the vicinity of "Clark's 
Point," at the lower end of Broadway and Pacific streets. 
They set fires to buildings for the purpose of looting them, 
and about 100 murders were committed in five months. In 

i6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

June, 1851, the famous "Vigilance Committee" was organized 
and adopted the following constitution : 

"Whereas, it has become apparent to the citizens of San 
Francisco that there is no security for life and property, either 
under the regulations of society as it at present exists, or un- 
der the law as now administered ; therefore, the citizens, whose 
names are hereunto attached, do unite themselves into an asso- 
ciation for the maintenance of the peace and good order of 
society, and the preservation of the lives and property of the 
citizens of San Francisco, and do bind ourselves, each unto 
the other, to do and perform every lawful act for the main- 
tenance of law and order, and to sustain the laws when faith- 
fully and properly administered; but we are determined that 
no thief, burglar, incendiary or assassin, shall escape punish- 
ment, either by the quibbles of the law, the insecurity of 
prisons, or a laxity of those who pretend to administer justice. 
And to secure the objects of this association we do hereby 

"1. That the name and style of the association shall be 
the Committee of Vigilance, for the protection of the lives 
and property of the citizens and residents of the city of San 

"2. That there shall be a room selected for the meeting 
and deliberation of this committee, at which there shall be 
one or more members of the committee, appointed for that 
purpose, in constant attendance, at all hours of the day and 
night, to receive the report of any member of the association, 
or of any other person or persons whatsoever, of any act of 
violence done to the person or property of any citizen of San 
Francisco; and if in the judgment of the member or mem- 
bers of the committee present, it be such an act as justifies 
the interference of the committee, either in aiding in the exe- 
cution of the laws, or the prompt and summary punishment of 
the offender, the committee shall be at once assembled for the 
purpose of taking such action as a majority of the committee 
when assembled shall determine upon. 

"3. That it shall be the duty of any member or mem- 
bers of the committee on duty at the committee room, when- 
ever a general assemblage of the committee is deemed neces- 
sary, to cause a call to be made by two strokes upon a bell, 
which shall be repeated with a pause of one minute, between 
each alarm. The alarm to be struck until ordered to be 

"4. That when the committee have assembled for action, 
the decision of a majority present shall be binding upon the 

San Francisco Cases 17 

whole committee, and that those members of the committee 
whose names are hereunto attached, do pledge their honor, 
and hereby bind themselves, to defend and sustain each other 
in carrying out the determined action of this committee at 
the hazard of their lives and their fortunes. 

"5. That there shall be chosen monthly a president, sec- 
retary and treasurer, and it shall be the duty of the secretary 
to detail the members required to be in daily attendance at the 
committee room. 

"A sergeant-at-arms shall be appointed, whose duty it 
shall be to notify such members of their details for duty. The 
sergeant-at-arms shall reside at and be in constant attendance 
at the committee room. 

"There shall be a standing committee of finance, and qual- 
ification, consisting of five each, and no person shall be ad- 
mitted a member of this association unless he be a respectable 
citizen, and approved of by the committee on qualification be- 
fore admission." 

An occasion soon happened to test the character and uses 
of this most extraordinary association. On the evening of 
June 10, 1851, a person named John Jenkins feloniously en- 
tered a store on Long Wharf and stole a safe. He was sub- 
sequently seen with a large burden slung across his back, and 
an alarm being raised, was pursued. He then got into a 
boat, and sculled out into the bay, followed by a dozen other 
boats in keen pursuit. 

The fugitive was soon overtaken; but before his captors 
reached him he was seen to throw the burden into the water. 
This was soon drawn up, and proved to be the stolen safe. 
The prisoner was next taken to the rooms of the Vigilance 
Committee, in Battery street, near the corner of Pine street. 

About 10 o'clock of the same night a signal was given 
on the bell of the Monumental Engine Company, and shortly 
afterwards about eighty members of the committee hurried 
to the appointed place, and on giving the secret password 
were admitted. Meanwhile knots of people, some of whom 
knew and all suspected what was going on, gathered about 
the premises, and impatiently awaited the further progress of 

For two hours the committee was closely occupied in 
examining evidence. At midnight the bell of the California 


i8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Engine House was tolled, as sentence of death by hanging 
was passed upon the wretched man. The solemn sounds at 
that unusual hour filled the anxious crowds with awe. The 
condemned at this time was asked if he had anything to say 
for himself, when he answered : "No, I have nothing to say, 
only I wish to have a cigar." This was handed to him, and 
afterwards, at his request, a little brandy and water. He was 
perfectly cool, and seemingly careless, confidently expecting, 
it was believed, a rescue, up to the last moment. 

A little before 1 o'clock, Mr. S. Brannan came out of the 
committee rooms, and ascending a mound of sand to the east 
of the Rasette House, addressed the people. He had been 
deputed, he said, by the committee to inform them that the 
prisoner's case had been fairly tried, that he had been proved 
guilty, and was condemned to be hanged, and that the sentence 
would be executed within one hour upon the plaza. He then 
asked the people if they approved of the action of the com- 
mittee, when great shouts of "Aye, Aye," burst forth, min- 
gled with a few cries of "No." In the interval a clergyman 
had been sent for, who administered the last consolations of 
religion to the condemned. 

Shortly before 2 o'clock the committee issued from the 
building, bearing the prisoner (who had his arms tightly pin- 
ioned) along with them. The committee were all armed and 
closely clustered around the culprit to prevent any possible 
chance of rescue. A procession was formed, and the whole 
party, followed by the crowd, proceeded to the plaza. Arrived 
at the flagstaff, some thoughtlessly suggested that it might 
serve to hang the condemned upon, but the proposal was in- 
dignantly overruled as desecrating the liberty pole. Those in 
charge of the execution proceeded to the south end of the 
adobe building, which stood on the northwest corner of the 
plaza. The opposite end of the rope, which was already 
about the neck of the victim, was hastily thrown over a pro- 
jecting beam. Some of the authorities attempted at this stage 
of affairs to interfere, but their efforts were unavailing. They 
were civilly desired to stand back and not delay what was 
still to be done. The crowd, which numbered upwards of a 

San Francisco Cases 


lousand, was perfectly quiescent, or only applauded by look, 

gesture and subdued voice the action of the committee. Be- 

hfore the prisoner had reached the building, a score of persons 

seized the loose end of the rope and ran backwards, dragging 

le wretch along the ground and raising him to the beam. 

^hus they held him till he was dead. 

The hanging of Jenkins had a salutary effect on the 
:riminal class and many left the city. As there was a tendency 
[to ignore the demands of the committee the following notice 
[was issued on July 5, 1851 : 

"Vigilance Committee Room. — It having become neces- 
sary to the peace and quiet of this community that all crim- 
inals and abettors in crime should be driven from among us, 
[no good citizen, having the welfare of San Francisco at heart, 
[will deny the Committee of Vigilance such information as 
[will enable them to carry out the above object. Nor will they 
[interfere with said committee when they may deem it best to 
search any premises for suspicious characters or stolen prop- 
;rty. Therefore, 

"Resolved, That we, the Vigilance Committee, do claim 
[to ourselves the right to enter any person or persons' prem- 
ises where we have good reason to believe that we shall find 
evidence to substantiate and carry out the object of this body; 
[and further, deeming ourselves engaged in a good and just 
[cause, WE intend to maintain it. By order of 

"The Committee of Vigilance, 

"No. 67, Secretary. 
"San Francisco, July 5, 1851." 

At 9 a. m., July 11, the bell was rung, and when the 
Icommittee had assembled, Joseph Stuart, for whom Berdeu 
[was mistaken in the Jansen robbery, and an all-around crim- 
inal, was tried and confessed to all his crimes. Colonel J. D. 
IStevenson addressed the citizens gathered, and after relating 
'what had transpired, asked if it was the wish of the citizens 
I that Stuart be executed. The citizens cried "Yes," and he 
[was hanged at the end of Market Street Wharf. 

In August, 1851, Sam Whitaker and Robert McKenzie 
Iwere tried for several crimes and confessed. They were sen- 
Ftenced to be hanged on August 20. Before the execution 
[Governor John McDougall issued a proclamation to the citi- 

20 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

zens of San Francisco, in which he protested against the acts 
of the Vigilance Committee, but the committee answered by 
reminding him that he had privately expressed his approval 
of their method of procedure. 

On August 21, before sunrise, Sheriff John Hayes, ac- 
companied by a squad of police, entered the room of the Vigi- 
lance Committee where Whitaker and McKenzie were await- 
ing execution, seized the prisoners and took them to jail. 

On Sunday, August 24, 1851, thirty-six members of the 
committee broke into jail during religious services which the 
two men sought were attending, and took them to Battery 
street and hanged them. This was the last active work done 
for the time being by this committee. 

On September 16, 1851, the committee decided to sus- 
pend operations and thereafter render financial assistance to 
enable the authorities to apprehend and properly prosecute 

During the first two years after the Vigilance Committee 
ceased operations, the criminal element was conspicuous by 
their absence, but about 1854 a financial storm could be seen 
approaching, which was accompanied by political and social 
corruption. The better element, in their feverish rush for 
gold, neglected their duties as citizens and voters, and the 
result was that the lawless class gradually gained great power. 

Over 1,000 homicides were committed between 1849 and 
1856, and the only legal hanging was that of Jose Formi, who, 
on December 10, 1852, murdered Jose Rodriguez, for which 
he was hanged on Russian Hill on July 20, 1853. 

On the evening of November 15, 1855, Charles Cora, a 
notorious gambler, accompanied a beautiful woman known 
as Belle Cora to the theater. This woman, who conducted 
a brothel, was undoubtedly infatuated with Cora, whose name 
she took. 

On this evening their seats in the theater were next to 
those occupied by United States Marshal William R. Richard- 
son and wife. Between acts the Marshal met Cora in the 
barroom, and it is said Richardson took Cora to task for 
allowing Belle Cora to sit beside his (Richardson's) wife. 

San Francisco Cases 


About two days afterward Richardson met Cora on Lei- 

Jdesdorff street, and Cora shot Richardson in the breast, pro- 

iucing a wound which caused almost instant death. Cora 

fclaimed that he shot in self-defense, as he claimed Richard- 

tson was about to attack him with a knife. 

Belle Cora employed Colonel E. D. Baker, one of the 
iblest lawyers in the city, to defend her lover. Baker made a 
lard fight for his client, and attacked the private life of Rich- 
irdson in his closing argument. On January 17, 1856, the 
[jury disagreed. 

On July 26, 1848, James King of William arrived in 
[San Francisco. On December 5, 1849, he opened a banking 
Ihouse at Montgomery and Washington streets, but failed in 
jhis enterprise, and on October 5, 1855, began publishing the 
fSan Francisco Bulletin. 

He was as courageous as he was able, and as he denounced 

the lawless element in most bitter terms he naturally had nu- 

lerous enemies. After the Cora jury disagreed King de- 

lounced the lawless element more than ever, and on May 14, 

[1856, published an article in which he stated that Supervisor 

fames P. Casey had served a term for burglary at Sing Sing 


Immediately upon reading the article Casey proceeded 

the Bulletin office, which was located on Merchant near 

|Sansome street, denounced King for exposing his past life, and 

|then left the office in a great rage. About 5 p. m. King left his 

jffice to walk to his home at Pacific and Mason streets. 

At Montgomery and Washington streets Casey inter- 

[cepted him, and without any warning shot King through the 

:hest. Casey surrendered and was taken by Marshal Hampton 

rorth and Officer I. W. Lees (afterward Chief of Police) 

to the jail on Broadway street. Great difficulty was expe- 

[rienced in preventing Casey from being lynched by the in- 

lignant citizens while en route to jail. 

Mayor Van Ness finally succeeded in persuading the 
[people to disperse. On May 15, 1856, the day after the 
[shooting of King, the Vigilantes met to reorganize, and se- 
ected William T, Coleman as leader. 

22 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

A great many members of the militia also joined the 
Vigilance Committee. All the members, which included such 
men as John Parrott and William Ralston, were designated 
by numbers. The membership increased to about thirty-five 
hundred. The meeting place was changed from Turn Verein 
Hall on Bush street, between Stockton and Powell streets, 
to the building on Sacramento street, between Davis and Front, 
which was subsequently known as "Fort Gunny Bags," be- 
cause gunny bags filled with sand were piled about ten feet 
high around the building as an additional protection. The 
activities of the Vigilance Committee caused a feeble attempt 
to be made toward fortifying the Broadway jail. Governor 
Johnson came to San Francisco, and it is claimed that after 
learning the facts, he privately approved of the methods em- 
ployed by the Vigilantes. On Sunday, May 18, King was 
sinking rapidly, and the Vigilantes decided to act at once. 
They had been secretly drilled in military tactics, and the 
several companies armed with rifles formed in all four direc- 
tions from the jail and marched in columns to the jail, all com- 
panies arriving simultaneously. 

The Vigilantes' artillery then advanced and set a cannon 
in front of the jail and very deliberately loaded it. At this 
ix>int a written notice was served on Sheriff Dave Scannell 
to surrender Casey and Cora. When the leader, William T. 
Coleman, appeared, his forces saluted in true military style 
by presenting arms. Scannell seeing that resistance was use- 
less admitted Coleman and his immediate aids. They pro- 
ceeded to Casey's cell and found him defiantly brandishing 
a knife, Coleman assured him of a fair trial, and he sur- 
rendered, and he and Cora were marched from the jail. The 
proceeding was conducted with the greatest solemnity. They 
were taken to the Vigilance Committee headquarters, and their 
trials were set for the following Tuesday. Both men were 
provided with attorneys and allowed to produce witnesses. 

King died on the same day the trials began. The de- 
fendants were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged on 
Friday, May 23, at the same time as King's funeral. The 
executions took place in front of the Vigilantes' building. The 



San Francisco Cases 23 

condemned men were permitted to consult spiritual and legal 
advisers, and shortly before they went to the gallows Belle 
Cora, who had spent a fortune trying to save her lover, en- 
tered the jail, and she and Cora were married by Father Ac- 
cotti. The remains of Cora and Casey are buried at the Mis- 
sion Dolores Cemetery, where the headstones are still stand- 

On May 26, 1856, Billy Mulligan,* Yankee Sullivan and 
numerous others of their ilk, were arrested. They were the 
leaders of the gang of ballot box stuffers who were making 
elections a farce. 

♦Before coming to San Francisco Billy Mulligan was the 
Beau Brummel of the New York gamblers and as desperate a 
character as could be found in New York. He came to San Fran- 
cisco during the gold excitement and took a prominent part in 
local politics. He served as keeper of the County Jail under 
Sheriff Scanlan, who subsequently became Chief of the Fire De- 

When the Vigilantes drove Mulligan from San Francisco he 
'returned to New York and to his former haunts. One night he 
attempted to kill a man in a fashionable gambling-place, and for 
this crime he was sentenced to serve two years at Sing Sing. 

While awaiting trial at the Tombs a beautifully gowned young 
'woman visited the prison and fell desperately in love with Mulligan. 
She sacrificed her diamonds and jewelry to meet the expenses 
;Of his trial. On the evening preceding his departure for Sing Sing 
she oflfered to marry him and he consented. The ceremony was 
^immediately performed by Judge Brennan, and the bride accom- 
[panied the convict to Sing Sing on the following day. 

Believing that he was sincere in his promise to reform and 
^lead an upright life she worked night and day in his behalf, and 
[at the expiration of two months procured his pardon. In spite 
of the devotion manifested by his loyal wife, Mulligan deserted 
her almost immediately after being released and returned to San 
Francisco in January, 1864. 

On the afternoon of July 7, 1865, while suffering from de- 

Mirium tremens he imagined that the Vigilantes were going to hang 

j!him. . He had a room facing the street at the St. Francis Hotel, 

[located at the southeast corner of Dupont and Clay streets. He 

fired a pistol from his window and seriously wounded a Chinese 

laundryman who lived across the street. 

John McNabb, a friend of Mulligan's, attempted to approach 
his room with a glass of whisky, at the same time attempting to 
[pacify him. Mulligan shot him dead. 

In attempting to shoot the officers on the street he shot and 
Skilled John Hart, of Eureka Hose Company No. 4. Officers with 
^rifles were stationed in windows in the neighborhood and finally 
(Mulligan again appeared at the window and was shot dead by 
^Officer Hopkins. 

24 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

After a trial they were sentenced to leave San Francisco, 
and warned that if they returned they would be hanged. While 
in jail Sullivan confessed to participating in election frauds 
and became extremely melancholy. He labored under the 
hallucination that he was to be hanged. On May 30 he was 
found dead in his cell with a knife- wound on his left arm, 
from which he bled to death. Rumors were circulated that he 
had been murdered by a guard stabbing him with a bayonet, 
but the charge was never proved. A table knife covered with 
blood was found in his cell. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Governor Johnson was al- 
leged to have uttered words of encouragement to William 
Coleman in the work he had undertaken, he addressed a com- 
munication to General John Wool on June 10, 1856, in which 
he requested the latter, as Commander of the United States 
Army forces at Benicia, to proceed to San Francisco and stop 
the activities of the Vigilantes. Wool declined to interfere. A 
great many prominent citizens opposed the actions of the 
Vigilance Committee, and they formed an organization known 
as the "Law and Order Committee," and evidently intended to 
oppose the Vigilantes with force, as they began to gather 

On June 21, 1856, positive information was received that 
Reuben Maloney was assisting the "Law and Order Com- 
mittee" to procure arms. S. A. Hopkins, a Vigilante police- 
man, was detailed to locate and arrest Maloney. Hopkins 
located him in company with Justice David S. Terry, of the 
State Supreme Court. Terry was opposed to the Vigilantes 
and ordered Hopkins not to make an illegal arrest in his 

Hopkins withdrew temporarily, but returned with sev- 
eral Vigilante policemen and again attempted to arrest Ma- 
loney. Terry drew a pistol and Hopkins grabbed it, where- 
upon Terry drew a dagger and stabbed Hopkins in the neck, 
inflicting a wound which was feared would result fatally. 

Terry was at once arrested by the Vigilantes, but his trial 
was delayed until July 24 in order to ascertain definitely the 
extent of Hopkins' wounds. He was found guilty, and after 

San Francisco Cases 25 

being confined in a cell for forty-seven days was released on 
August 7, 1856. 

On July 24, 1856, Joseph Hetherington shot and killed 
Dr. Andrew Randall in the latter's office at Sansome and Com- 
mercial streets. When Hetherington entered the office he 
renewed a quarrel over money which he alleged Randall owed 
him. He finally grappled with Randall, when they drew 
pistols almost simultaneously. Hetherington fired, inflicting a 
wound from which Randall died on July 26. 

Captain of Detectives I. W. Lees arrested Hetherington, 
but the Vigilantes, knowing that Hetherington had, on August 
1, 1853, shot and killed Dr. John Baldwin, because of a dis- 
pute over property, and was subsequently acquitted, decided 
that this case required their personal attention. Accordingly 
they surrounded Lees and took his prisoner from him. 

On June 3, 1856, Philander Brace killed Joseph B. West, 
a deputy police officer and Captain in the National Guards. 
The shooting took place on San Miguel Rancho. ^ Thereafter 
Brace committed numerous robberies, but always managed to 
escape justice. The Vigilance Committee arrested him and 
he and Hetherington were tried about the same time. 

They were found guilty and on July 29, 1856, were 
hanged from a scaffold on Davis street, near Commercial. 
They were the last men hanged by the Vigilance Committee. 
The moral atmosphere had then cleared perceptibly, and on 
August 18, 1856, the Vigilance Committee held their final 
parade. They paraded with their arms and in military for- 
mation. The city was decorated in their honor and they were 
constantly cheered along the line of march. Shortly after- 
ward they organized the People's party and selected a com- 
mittee of twenty-one men, who had absolute power to select 
candidates for the various offices. Neither politics nor re- 
ligion were considered. James F. Curtis, who had served as 
Chief of the Vigilantes' private police force, was their can- 
didate for regular Chief of PoUce. 

The office of Chief of Police was created to supersede the 
City Marshal by the Consolidation Act, which was drafted 
by Assemblyman Horace Hawes and adopted by the Legisla- 

26 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ture on April 19, 1856. The election was held on November 
14, 1856, and the People's party elected nearly all their can- 
didates. For many years this party remained a power in 
politics, and the municipal government was all that could be 

In October, 1856, William T. Coleman visited New York, 
and Reuben Maloney, then residing in that city, and whom 
Officer Hopkins attempted to arrest in the presence of Judge 
Terry, entered a suit for damages against him. The Vigi- 
lantes voluntarily assessed themselves to render financial as- 
sistance to Coleman. This case and others of a similar nature 
were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. 

From 1849 until the Act of Congress in 1864 the laws in 
relation to property rights were so conflicting, so far as they 
applied to San Francisco, that it was shown that "possession 
was nine-tenths of the law." "Squatting" on property be- 
came an occupation, and after the fire of 1851, claimants of 
property were forced to fence in their land, over the hot 
ashes, to preserve their rights, and many lives were lost in 
battles growing out of disputes over ownership. 

On June 4, 1854, squatters took possession of a lot at 
Mission and Third streets, which belonged to Captain James 
Folsom, and they erected a heavy wooden fort. So strongly 
fortified were they that Folsom decided that the best policy 
would be to compromise the matter, and for a monetary con- 
sideration the squatters vacated. Believing they had intimi- 
dated Folsom they proceeded immediately to another lot at 
Howard and First streets, which also belonged to Folsom, 
and a battle with pistols followed, which resulted in George 
Smith, of the Folsom party, being killed and two squatters 
named John Larkin and James McNabb being wounded. 

On June 5, 1854, rival squatters attempted to gain posses- 
sion of a lot belonging to James Lick, which was located near 
Green and Powell streets. John Murphy and Thomas Mooney 
were opposed by John Murphy and wife. A pistol fight fol- 
lowed, during which Mrs. Murphy was killed. 

On June 6, 1854, prominent citizens formed "The Anti- 
Squatter's League" and organized a special police force to 
assist the regulars. 

I San Francisco Cases 27 


Murder of Substitute Officer John Coots. 

On the midnight watch on June 12, 1878, Substitute 
fficer John Coots was patrolHng Pike street, now known 
as Waverly place, instead of the regular officer, Chas. 

About 1 :30 a. m., two young hoodlums named John 
Runk and Chas. Wilson passed through the alley, which 
was lined on either side by houses of ill repute. 

At that time the women were permitted to sit at their 
windows and these ruffians began abusing them without 
any provocation. 

Coots cautioned them to behave in a gentlemanly man- 
ner, but as they acted defiantly, he followed them to Sac- 
ramento street. At this point the men began to abuse the 
officer, and defied him to arrest them. 

Wilson was an ex-convict and Coots placed him under 
arrest, while Runk followed a few feet in the rear. They 
proceeded toward the police station at the old City Hall, 
located at Merchant and Kearny streets, and upon reaching 
Dupont and Clay streets. Officer Joe Kelly, who was stand- 
ing at that corner, asked Coots if he needed any help. 

Coots replied : "No, this fellow thought I couldn't 
take him down." 

Kelly remained at the corner and when the party had 
proceeded down Clay as far as Brenham place, which is 
about one hundred feet from where Kelly was standing, a 
shot was heard and Kelly saw Coots fall and the other two 
men ran through Brenham place, thence through Washing- 
ton and Bartlett alleys. Kelly followed closely behind them, 
blowing his whistle the while, and Officers Tom Price and 
Eaton, who were on Pacific street at the time, ran to Bart- 
lett alley and the fleeing men ran into their arms. Runk 
still had the pistol in his hand. 

Coots was shot in the back of the head by Runk and 

28 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

died instantly. As it was not proven that Wilson aided or 
encouraged in the killing, he escaped punishment, but Runk 
was tried, convicted and hanged on November 12, 1879. 

The Murder of Police Officer John Nicholson, 

John Nicholson v^as born in Canada in 1843 and on 
April 13, 1880, he was appointed a member of the San Fran- 
cisco Police Department. 

At 1 :45 a. m., February 16, 1884, Officer J. H. Calla- 
han, who had reported off duty at midnight, was in his 
home at the southeast corner of Jones and Pacific streets, 
when, above the noise of the rain and wind, he heard the 
sounds of pistol shots. 

He hastened to the window and observed two men run- 
ning down Jones street toward Pacific ; the tall man in the 
rear, evidently Officer Nicholson, was apparently pursuing 
the shorter man in the lead. 

Callahan ran out of his house and shortly afterward 
found the body of Officer Nicholson lying on the sidewalk 
near the fire house of Truck Company No. 4 on Pacific 
street, above Jones. 

In the dead officer's right hand a pistol was clutched, 
all the chambers being empty, and in his pocket a chisel 
was found which had evidently been taken from his assail- 

Over his left eye and on his left cheek, long, deep 
gashes were found and the third and fatal wound consisted 
of a deep knife wound in the neck which severed the jugular 

When G. W. Reid, who slept in the rear of his grocery 
store located at 1131 Pacific street, near Jones, arose that 
morning, he found that the store had been burglarized dur- 
ing the night and that the entrance had been effected by 
climbing over the transom of the front door. 

On the drawer of the desk a chisel mark was found 
which corresponded exactly, as regards width, with the 
chisel found in the dead officer's pocket. 

The only article missing was a cheap clock which was 


San Francisco Cases 29 

afterward found near a Chinaman's cap on Jackson street 
near by. 

A further search of the store resulted in the finding of 
a pair of Chinaman's slippers. 

It is presumed that the officer observed the burglar, 
evidently a Chinaman, as he was leaving this store and that 
he overtook him and removed the chisel from his posses- 
sion at the point where the cap and clock were found. The 
prisoner then broke away and was overtaken at the point 
where the murder was committed. 

The assassin was never apprehended. 

At the time of the tragedy an estimable young lady 
was en route from New York to San Francisco, where all 
arrangements had been made for her marriage to Nichol- 

The Murder of Officer E. J. Osgood. 

E. J. Osgood was born on June 26, 1832, and was ap- 
pointed a member of the San Francisco Police Department 
on April 24, 1878. 

At 3 :50 a. m., December 13, 1886, Osgood was standing 
at the corner of Pacific and Dupont streets, where he was 
observed by Tillie Mullin, a woman of the lower world, 
who was sitting in her window near by. 

At this time a roughly dressed young man approached 
Osgood and in a loud tone of voice complained to the offi- 
cer that his watch had been stolen from him in a brothel 
some hours before. 

As the man could not state definitely which brothel he 
visited and as the majority of such resorts were closed for 
the night and the inmates had left, the officer informed 
him that nothing could be accomplished then, but advised 
him to report the theft at headquarters at 10 a. m. 

The man crossed the street, but returned to the officer 
and began to abuse him for not making a search at once. 
The officer threatened to arrest him if he did not keep still. 
The enraged man then whipped out a knife, stabbed Osgood 
in the neck and fled down Pacific street. Osgood attempted 

30 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

to follow and at the same time pulled out his police whistle 
which he attempted to blow. He then staggered and fell. 

Officers Burges and Tennis soon appeared on the scene 
and conveyed the wounded officer to the Receiving Hospi- 
tal, where he died on December 17. 

Until October 15, 1888, nothing was learned as to the 
identity of the murderer. 

On that date the ship Childwall, Captain Watson, ar- 
rived in San Francisco from Bombay, India. 

The captain proceeded at once to Police Headquarters 
to ascertain if any man named Osgood had been murdered 
in San Francisco, 

Upon receiving an affirmative answer he made the fol- 
lowing statement : 

"In 1886 I left San Francisco for the British Isles in 
command of the ship James M. Blaikie. 

"Two sailors named Frank Norman and Thomas Long 
shipped with me. They were good sailors, but Norman was 
quarrelsome and when we had been out about six weeks I 
had a violent quarrel with him. 

"He was entirely in the wrong and his friend Long told 
him so in my presence. 

"That night while Long and Norman were on watch I 
passed along the deck and I overheard the two men quar- 
reling. I approached without being observed and heard 
Norman say to Long: 

" 'You coward, you sided with the skipper to-day. 

It looks as if you're going back on me.' 

"Long replied : 'I guess you have forgotten what I did 
for you when you cut Osgood's throat in San Francisco.' " 

Norman's reply could not be heard by the Captain and 
the conversation thereafter was in an undertone. 

The Captain never intimated to the sailors that he had 
overheard their conversation. Norman was never appre- 

The Trials of the Prominent Actor, Maurice Curtis, Alias 

Sam'l o' Posen, for the Murder of Police Officer 

Alexander Grant. 

Maurice Bertram Strelinger was born in London, Eng- 
land, in 1851. 

San Francisco Cases 


When a boy he came to this country and procured em- 
ployment as a porter in a store in New York City. 

He next worked at cheap theaters in the Bowery and 
■finally appeared in minor parts. While thus employed he 
[became enamored of a ballet girl, a French Jewess who had 
adopted the stage name of Albina Del Mer. They were 
[married and both obtained employment with a traveling 
► show, Strelinger then assuming the name of Curtis. They 
[finally drifted to San Francisco. 

As Curtis at that time was an uncouth individual and 
[apparently had no ability as an actor, he practically lived 
■ on charity. His wife became disgusted with him and sud- 
[denly left for New York. 

Curtis finally obtained employment at the Grand Opera 
[House in San Francisco, and after accumulating enough 
money to buy a ticket he left for New York for the purpose 
|of importuning his wife to return. 

At first she turned a deaf ear to his pleadings and the de- 
[spondent Curtis sought employment at the Star Theater in 
[New York. He was engaged at fifteen dollars per week to play 
rthe character of "Sam'l of Posefn," a Hebrew peddler. He 
[made such a success of the character that the play was re- 
[written and "Sam'l of Posen" was the leading character. 
[The play met with wonderful success and in four years 
Curtis accumulated $250,000, a large portion of which was 
[invested in real estate in Berkeley, Cal. 

About 1886, Curtis retired from the stage and became a 
)rominent ckizen of Berkeley, being a director of one of the 
leading banks. 

Alexander Grant was born in Nova Scotia in 1851, and 
[came to Bodie, California, in 1874, where he obtained em- 
[ployment as a carpenter. 

He was appointed a police officer on August 19, 1897, 
md was assigned to Sixth street, where he earned the repu- 
diation of being a most efficient officer. 

At 12:45 a. m., September 11, 1891, a jeweler named 
[Horace Badgely was walking down Fifth street near Fol- 

32 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

som when he heard three shots on Folsom street quite near 

He ran to the corner, arriving within a few seconds 
after the firing and observed only two men, one lying pros- 
trate on the sidewalk and the other running toward Fifth 

The Southern Police Station was then on Folsom street 
near the scene of the tragedy and Officer J. J. Allen, upon 
hearing the shots, ran out of the station and up the street in 
the direction of the shooting. He also observed the man 
running and saw him turn into Fifth street. Allen appre- 
hended the fleeing man at Shipley and Fifth street just as 
Officer Bodie intercepted him. 

The man was Curtis and his first exclamation was: 
"My God ! I'd give the world to get back the last four 
hours." He then became reticent and declined to make any 
further statement. 

On his right wrist was a police officer's nipper and an 
abrasion on the wrist clearly indicating that he had been 
struggling with the man who held the other end of the 

The officers then returned to the prostrate form on the 
sidewalk and found Officer Grant unconscious and dying 
from a pistol shot wound through the forehead. 

Near-by a 38-calibre Smith and Wesson hammerless re- 
volver was found containing three empty shells. Officer 
Grant's revolver was found in his pocket fully loaded but 
the nipper which he was known to carry was not in his 

James Creighton, a bartender at Fifth and Folsom, 
Thomas Mullins of 56 Shipley street, and E. Toomey of 252 
Perry street, all stated, and subsequently testified, that they 
saw Grant with one prisoner just before he turned around 
the corner from Fifth on to Folsom street and that he said 
to the prisoner, who was resisting : "Come along now," and 
that almost immediately after the two men passed out of 
their sight around the corner, three shots rang out. These 
three witnesses hurried to the corner and saw a man run- 

San Francisco Cases 33 

ning away. They stated that with the exception of the 
wounded officer no other person was on the street in that 
block on Folsom street at that time. 

Augustine Marcoval, a tamale peddler, stated that he 
saw Grant with one prisoner of Curtis' description at 6th 
and Folsom a few moments before the shots were fired. 

Mrs. Annie Johnson, who resided at 846 Folsom street, 
was sitting near her window with her sick baby and saw 
the prisoner trying to pull away from the officer and then 
three shots were fired whereupon the officer fell and the 
prisoner escaped. She was positive only two men were 

John Schultheis, a machinist employed at the Phoenix 
Iron Works on First street, identified the nippers found on 
Curtis' wrist as a pair he had repaired for Officer Grant. 

Upon hearing the evidence, the Coroner's Jury charged 
Curtis with murder, and on October 12, 1891, Police Judge 
Rix held him to answer before the Superior Court. 

Three of the leading attorneys of San Francisco, George 
Knight, W. W. Foote and Colonel Kowalsky were engaged 
to defend Curtis. 

The trial commenced on January 25, 1892, and Attorney 
Knight referred to it as an "unholy persecution of an inno- 
cent man by the police." 

Captain of Detectives Lees, who handled the case, 
stated that he had reliable information that Curtis was a 
degenerate and it was Lees' theory that Grant had caught 
him in a compromising position and Curtis, becoming frantic 
when he realized that exposure would follow his arrest, 
decided to forever seal the lips of the officer and then escape. 

The witnesses for the prosecution testified according to 
the statements previously made and on February 15th Curtis 
took the stand in his own behalf and testified as follows : 

"I came to San Francisco from my home in Berkeley 
on the evening of September 10 and met my wife by ap- 
pointment in her box at the Grand Opera House during 
the Sarah Bernhardt performance. I left during the play 
and went to the Tivoli Opera House where I remained with 

34 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Mark Thall until 11 :45 p. m., when I started for the Grand 
Opera House to escort my wife home. On Mission street I 
noticed a strange man following me so I continued to 
Howard street, when I was struck on the back of the head 
and fell. An officer then appeared, and placed us both under 
arrest. A nipper was placed on my wrist and when we had 
proceeded a short distance I heard three shots and fearing 
that I was being shot at, I ran. 

"I could not remember anything else. I never carried 
a pistol and I did not shoot the officer." 

Curtis could give no satisfactory explanation as to why 
he did not continue to the theater which was close at hand 
on Mission street if he feared an assault, instead of going 
out of his way to walk down a comparatively dark street, 
thus inviting attack. 

Attorney Kowalsky testified that Toomey and Mullins, 
witnesses for the prosecution, called upon him and intimated 
that they were "ready to do business" and inquired "how 
much is in it?" 

Mrs. M. Abbott and B. E. Harrington, who resided at 
Fifth and Folsom streets, gave testimony tending to cor- 
roborate Curtis' testimony regarding the presence of a third 

In rebuttal, George Alpers, a saloonkeeper at Fifth and 
Folsom, and afterward a Supervisor, Henry Teaman and 
James Kernan all testified that they were in Alpers' saloon 
when the shots were fired and that they ran out immediately 
and saw only one man running away. 

Henry Faust, a gardener formerly in the employ of 
Curtis, testified that he had seen Curtis carry a pistol on 
numerous occasions. 

In sur-rebuttal Mrs. J. McMillan and her daughter, Mrs. 
Lacy, testified that a second man ran away from the scene 
after the shooting. 

The case was submitted to the jury on February 24 and 
after forty-eight hours' deliberation they failed to agree and 
were discharged. 

On the next trial Curtis was acquitted, but as he was 

San Francisco Cases 35 

then financially ruined, he returned to the vaudeville stage 
where he has for years eked out a living by producing a 
sketch from the play which had once made him famous and 

William J. Hurley, who conducted a saloon at 1201 
Steiner street, was a juror in the first trial and was one 
of the two jurors who held out for acquittal. Shortly after- 
ward he was indicted for accepting a bribe for his part in 
"hanging" the jury. He was acquitted but was again ar- 
rested on January 28, 1895, for attempting to bribe Chauncey 
M. Johnson, a juryman in the case of Richard McDonald 
who was charged with perjury because of his sworn state- 
ment regarding the financial condition of the Pacific Bank 
which had recently failed. 

During this trial. Hurley admitted that the charge was 
true and claimed that he had received $500 to hang the 
jury. He also admitted that he had been promised $5,000 
to "hang" the Curtis jury but received nothing for his 

During his trial Hurley made two attempts to commit 

On March 29, 1895, he was found guilty and sentenced 
to five years' imprisonment. 

He died in San Francisco on July 13, 1909. 

Horace Badgely, an eye-witness to the murder of Grant, 
disappeared before his testimony could be procured. 

On April 8, 1895, he was interviewed in Stockton, Cal., 
and stated that the reason he disappeared was because a 
man called at his home and paid him $3,000 for a cheap 
picture which hung on the wall, at the same time suggesting 
that a change of climate would be beneficial to Badgely's 

Captain Lees expressed the opinion that Badgely's 
statement was correct. 

The Murder of Lieutenant of Police Burke by Theodore 
Park Haynes. 

William Burke was born in County Galway, Ireland, on 
March 3, 1852. 

36 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

He was appointed a member of the San Francisco police 
department on September 12, 1878, and for years afterward 
he and Officer William Price were specially detailed to sub- 
due the criminal element which had the Mission district 

The brilliant detective work and courageous deeds of 
these officers resulted in their promotion until they reached 
the rank of Lieutenants. 

On the morning of March 23, 1898, Theodore Park 
Haynes, an eccentric old tinsmith residing at Montcalm 
street and Peralta avenue, in the Mission district, had a con- 
troversy with his neighbor, Alfred Hopkinson, in regard to 
the boundary lines of their respective properties. 

Suddenly Haynes drew a revolver and fired two shots 
at Hopkinson. The latter retreated and meeting Officers T. 
Kennedy and James Wilkinson, related his experience with 
the "old tinker," as Haynes was known. 

Hopkinson then accompanied the officers to the scene 
of the disturbance. Haynes was standing at the door of his 
cabin, pistol in hand. The officers advanced toward him but 
Haynes raised his weapon and commanded them to halt or 
be shot. 

The officers stopped and finally retreated for the pur- 
pose of conferring as to the best course to pursue. They 
telephoned to the Seventeenth-street Police Station and no- 
tified Corporal Heney of the situation and he in turn sent 
Patrol Driver George Cashil to notify Lieutenant Burke, 
who was at his home near by. The Lieutenant instructed 
Cashil to convey him in the patrol wagon to the scene of 
the shooting. When they reached Twenty-sixth street Of- 
ficer G. Marlowe joined the Lieutenant. The wagon was 
stopped about a block from Haynes' house and after learning 
the details from Wilkinson, the Lieutenant, who was in 
civilian dress, ordered the uniformed officers to follow him. 
As Burke approached the cabin he observed Haynes, who 
was still standing by his door, pistol in hand. 

The Lieutenant showed his star and in a mild manner 
said to Haynes : 


San Francisco Cases 37 

"I am an officer. I won't harm you ; I just want to talk 
to you." 

The words had scarcely left Burke's lips when Haynes 
raised his pistol and fired two shots. The Lieutenant stag- 
gered, placed his left hand to his groin, drew his own pistol 
and after firing two shots, neither of which was effective, 
fell to the ground. 

In the meantime Officer Merchant appeared on the 
scene. There were many conflicting statements as to the con- 
duct of the officers after Burke was shot, but the majority of 
the witnesses agreed that Merchant and Kennedy emptied their 
revolvers at Haynes, who was using a heavy barrel full of 
water which was near his door, as a shield, and that they 
left the scene temporarily for the sole purpose of procuring 
more ammunition. 

A majority of the witnesses also agreed that Marlowe 
and Wilkinson displayed cowardice in their manner of re- 
treat. At any rate, when the "coast was clear," Ha3''nes 
ran out to Burke, who was writhing in agony on the ground, 
and wrenching the pistol from his hand, fired two more 
shots into the body of the prostrate man and then ran back 
to the cabin. 

Almost immediately after this, Patrol Driver George 
Cashil rushed up to Burke, carried him down the hill to the 
patrol wagon and hastened to the hospital where the wound- 
ed man died shortly afterward. 

Officer Kennedy returned to the scene with a shotgun. 
By this time a posse from the Central Station, consisting 
of Sergeant George Baldwin, who in 1910 was Chief of the 
Census Bureau of San Francisco, Sergeant Christiansen, Of- 
ficer Steve Bunner, afterwards distinguished for his detec- 
tive ability, Maurice Duane and many other officers, arrived 
upon the scene. 

A few moments later Haynes looked out the door and 
Kennedy shot him in the face with his shotgun. The 
wound, although not serious, almost blinded the "tinker" 
with his own blood. He closed the door and shortly after- 
ward opened it again. Officer Bunner, who was standing in 

38 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

an exposed position about sixty Jeet in front of the cabin, 
dared Haynes to come out of the door. 

While the murderer's attention was attracted to Run- 
ner's defy. Sergeant Baldwin and Officer Duane crept upon 
him from the left and overpowered him. 

When taken into custody Haynes began to feign in- 
sanity but prominent alienists pronounced him perfectly ra- 

His preliminary examination began before Judge Con- 
Ian on March 31 and on April 11 he was held to answer 
before the Superior Court, where he was found guilty by a 

On June 18, 1898, he was sent to Folsom State Prison 
for life. 

Wilkinson and Marlowe were charged with cowardice 
and after a trial were dismissed from the police department 
on October 7, 1898. 

Patrol Driver Cashil was appointed a regular police of- 
ficer for his courageous work on the day of Burke's murder. 

The Murder of Officer Eugene Robinson and the Clever 

Capture of the Assassins — The Mysterious Murder 

of the Conspirator Who Turned Informer. 

On the evening of January 20, 1902, six thugs named 
Frank Woods, William Kaufman, alias St. Louis Fat, John 
Courtney, alias Leadville Jimmy, William Kennedy, alias 
Yellow and Allen, alias "Kid" Goucher, who was a son of 
State Senator Goucher of Fresno, assembled in their room 
at 203 Turk street, in San Francisco, and entered into a 
conspiracy to visit Cypress Lawn Cemetery in San Mateo 
county and blow open the safe in the office. 

They took the paraphernalia necessary for the work at 
hand and leaving the room in two groups of three each, re- 
paired to the cemetery. 

Upon arriving there they discovered a man with a rifle 
on guard in the office, so they reluctantly abandoned the at- 
tempt and again dividing into two parties, boarded the same 
car bound for San Francisco. It was then about midnight 

San Francisco Cases 39 

and as the car went no further into the city than Twenty- 
ninth and Mission streets, they were compelled to continue 
the journey on foot. They walked down Valencia street; 
Henderson, Woods and Kaufman in the lead and Kennedy, 
Courtney and Goucher in the rear. 

When they reached Twenty-fifth and Valencia, a signal 
was given and the gang assembled for the purpose of dis- 
cussing the advisability of breaking into the office of a coal 
yard there located with the intention of blowing open the 

The majority were opposed to the proposition on the 
ground that the contents would probably not justify the 
risk taken of being discovered. 

They then separated as before and proceeded cityward, 
but when they reached a point on Valencia street between 
Sixteenth and Seventeenth, the three men in the rear, Ken- 
nedy, Courtney and Goucher, met a Japanese named G. R. 
Aikyo, Vv'ho was subsequently appointed a commissioner to 
represent the Japanese Government at the St. Louis Expo- 

They placed pistols to Aikyo's head and commanded 
him to throw up his hands, but he managed to escape and 
ran into his home a few doors away. As he did so Ken- 
nedy fired a shot which missed its mark. He and Courtney 
then scaled a fence and disappeared while Goucher ran up 
and joined the trio in the lead. 

Officer Eugene C. Robinson was patroling Valencia 
street that night. He was a handsome, athletic young man, 
and the sole support of a widowed mother. 

On hearing the shot, Robinson ran up to the four men 
and asked who had fired it. 

Henderson and Kaufman moved away but Woods and 
Goucher closed in on the officer, and then a shot was fired, 
closely followed by a volley of shots. 

Robinson fell and died within a few hours. 

Woods and Goucher then joined Henderson and they 
fled from the scene, Woods exclaiming that the officer had 
shot him twice. 

Officer Charles Taylor, whose beat was on Sixteenth 

40 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

street, heard the shots and was hastening to the scene when 
he observed the three men running. 

He called upon them to halt but their only reply was 
to fire a volley of shots at him. He knelt and taking de- 
liberate aim, responded with three shots, but as they had 
no apparent effect, he continued the pursuit. The trio then 
turned and fired another volley. 

Taylor fired again and the largest of the three men stag- 
gered. The officer then ran up to him and told him he 
would kill him if he did not throw up his hands. 

The fellow complied and was taken into custody and 
upon examination it was found that he was only slightly 

He stated that his name was Henderson and after sev- 
eral days he made a complete confession to Detectives Dinan, 
Wren and Taylor, and gave the names of his accomplices. 

A remarkable piece of work was done in capturing every 
one of the gang. 

Courtney was arrested a few days afterward while rid- 
ing the brakebeams of a train near Benicia. 

Kennedy was arrested at Grants Pass, Oregon, for 
burglarizing a postoffice and was identified and brought 
here for trial. 

Kaufman and Woods fled to Portland, Oregon, and 
Woods, being wounded by one of Robinson's bullets, Kauf- 
man had him concealed in a lodging-house and was acting 
as his nurse. 

The Portland police were informed of this fact and 
they visited the room while Kaufman was at a neighboring 
drugstore procuring bandages. Woods was captured, but 
Kaufman, learning that the officers were in the building, 
escaped temporarily and fled to Canada. 

Detective Murray of Victoria, B. C, saw him posing 
as a cripple on a train and begging from passengers. Mur- 
ray knew he had seen his picture but did not recall the 
circumstances, but on leaving the train his mind was re- 
freshed as to who the man was and what he was charged 

San Francisco Cases 41 

He telegraphed ahead to the Constable at Calagar, 
Canada, but Kaufman evidently saw Murray observing him 
very closely and fearing he had been recognized, he left the 
train at Calagar and went into the railroad tank house. 

The station telegraph operator saw this move and as 

[Nonstable Dodge had confided to the operator who he was 

[waiting at the station for, the operator closed the tank house 

[door on Kaufman, thus making him a prisoner until Dodge 

icame to his assistance and Kaufman was arrested. 

Goucher went to St. Paul, Minn., where he committed 
[a burglary and under the name of Roy Williams he was 
[sentenced to serve three years in the Stillwater Penitentiary, 
[where the notorious Younger brothers were once confined. 

At the expiration of this term he was returned to San 

On January 31, 1903, Kaufman was sentenced to serve 
15 years at San Quentin. 

On April 2, 1904, after a long legal battle, the charge 
[against Kennedy was dismissed on the ground that suf- 
[ficient evidence had not been produced to corroborate the 
testimony of the accomplice Henderson, but in the next year 
File was arrested at Woodland, Yolo County, for burglary 
and on March 22, 1905, he was sentenced to serve 45 years 
i&t Folsom. 

Woods was executed on October 6, 1905, as it was 
[shown that it was he who fired the fatal shot. 

Goucher was sentenced to serve 25 years at San Quen- 

ftin, but would probably have been hanged had not his 

Ifather, the aged and respected Senator Goucher, made a 

personal and eloquent plea to the jury, which brought tears 

to nearly every eye in the court-room, except those of his 

[fiendish son, who was absolutely devoid of feeling. 

The charge against Courtney was reduced to man- 
slaughter and on May 12, 1903, he was sentenced to serve 
six years at San Quentin. 

In consideration of the services rendered to the prose- 
cution by Henderson, he was on April 3, 1905, given his free- 
dom on probation. 

The criminal class had the bitterest feeling toward him 

42 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

for turning informer and it was commonly known that his 
life was in danger. 

When he was released from the prison he was afraid 
to venture on to the street without police protection and 
he immediately left San Francisco. 

That availed him nothing, however, for his body, with 
a knife-wound in the back, was found shortly afterward 
on a road leading into Montreal, Canada. 

The Murder of Officer James S. Cook. 

James S. Cook was born in San Francisco on Novem- 
ber 19, 1874. 

As a young man, he followed the occupation of a 
teamster until December 9, 1902, when he joined the Police 

For many months after the earthquake and fire officers 
were detailed at the several banks in the burned district. 
Cook was assigned to the bank at Seventh and Market 
streets, and upon reporting off duty at midnight on August 
29, 1906, he walked down Seventh street toward the South- 
ern Pacific Railroad yards, intending to catch a freight 
train to Ocean View where he and his family resided. 

At Seventh and Brannan streets he observed four men 
who were in the act of unreeling from a large spool, some 
cable which belonged to the Home Telephone Company 
and which workmen had left there preparatory to running 
it down through the manhole nearby. 

Cook approached these men and began to interrogate 
them. Suddenly one of the group drew a pistol and fired 
three shots into the officer's stomach in rapid succession. 

Cook fell to the ground but he managed to draw his 
own pistol and discharge its contents in the direction of the 
fleeing men. 

The man who shot the officer then turned and fired 
two more shots in the direction of the prostrate man and 
then disappeared in the darkness. 

Cook was removed to the Emergency Hospital. From 
the description he furnished of his assailants, four men 
were arrested, one of them being a laborer named John Dun- 

San Francisco Cases 43 

nigan. Cook's identification of this man was not entirely 

On September 5 the officer died and Dunnigan was 
charged with murder, but the case was finally dismissed. 

The Murder of Police Officer George O'Connell (Retired) 

and Stephen Lynch in a Saloon Hold-up, and the 

Killing of One of the Robbers. 

George P. O'Connell was born in Waterford County, 
Ireland, on April 1, 1851. He was appointed a member 
of the San Francisco Police Department on May 11, 1878, 
and was retired because of disability on April 4, 1904. 

About 9 p. m. on the evening of November 16, 1906, 
O'Connell, Steve Lynch, Louis Delatour and several others 
were chatting at the bar in a saloon located at the north- 
east corner of Sixth and Brannan streets. 

Presently the front and side doors were opened simul- 
taneously and two men wearing blue handkerchiefs as masks 
appeared, one at each door. 

They instantly raised large, black revolvers and com- 
manded all present to hold up their hands. 

With the exception of O'Connell, all complied with the 
request, but the retired officer exclaimed : 

"No can make me throw up my hands," and he 

instantly drew his own revolver and fired at the robber at 
the front door. 

Both robbers opened fire simultaneously, the one at the 
side door firing two shots. The first shot fired by the robber 
at the side door passed through O'Connell's arm and thence 
through his lungs. Lynch was shot in the abdomen and 
Delatour's jaw was shot away. 

The robbers then fled. Lynch and O'Connell died 
shortly afterward. 

Captain of Detectives Duke and Detectives Reagan, 
O'Connell, O'Dea and B. Wren were on the ground shortly 
after the shooting. 

About sixty feet south of this saloon the dead body of 
one of the robbers was found, one of O'Connell's bullets 
having pierced his chest. He still wore his blue handker- 

44 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

chief as a mask and an empty, black, 38-calibre revolver 
was in his hand. 

The remains were soon identified as those of Frank 
Burke, an ex-convict who was an habitue of Sullivan's sa- 
loon, a rendezvous for thieves and cutthroats, which was 
located on the opposite side of Sixth street about 300 feet 
south of the scene of the tragedy. 

As several witnesses saw the other robber run towards 
Sullivan's resort the officers proceeded there forthwith. 

This saloon was closed unusually early that night and 
after gaining an entrance, the officers found the hangers-on 
apparently asleep on the floors in the rear rooms. 

There were two men there whose general physique and 
clothing answered the description of the robber who fired 
the shot that killed O'Connell. One proved an alibi but the 
other was so extremely pale and nervous that it was decided 
to take him to the scene of the tragedy. 

Arriving there, a young man named Clarence Pool im- 
mediately identified the prisoner, whose name was John 
Byrne, as the man who had on the previous evening, in 
company with the dead robber, acted in such a mysterious 
manner in front of a saloon across the street from the scene 
of the tragedy that it was suspected that they intended to 
rob that place. 

A search was made of the prisoner's pockets and a blue 
handkerchief of identically the same description as the one 
worn by the other robber was found in his coat pocket. 
The handkerchief was somewhat damp and one corner was 
still twisted in a manner to indicate that it had recently 
been tied in a knot. 

A search was then made for the second weapon. Byrne 
was with the searching party and as the officers drew near 
the spot where the pistol was concealed, the prisoner began 
trembling so violently that Detective O'Dea asked him what 
he was shaking about. 

The gun was found under the back steps of Sullivan's 
saloon. It was a 45-calibre army revolver which had been 
stolen from the Presidio some months previously. Two 44- 
calibre shells were discharged and the bullet subsequently 

San Francisco Cases 45 

removed from O'Connell's body was found to be of the 
same calibre. The man who conducted the saloon where 
this tragedy occurred was also named O'Connell and on the 
night preceding the tragedy, his wife sat in her darkened 
front window directly over the saloon and observed the mys- 
terious actions of two men in front of the saloon across the 

Presently these men came across the street and ap- 
peared to be looking between the doors of her husband's 
saloon. She observed them closely and became so nervous 
that she sent her little boy down stairs to warn her hus- 
band, but in the meantime the fellows disappeared. Mrs. 
O'Connell positively identified the dead robber as one of the 
men and Byrne as the other. 

A few moments before the tragedy, a brakeman named 
HefTernan saw Burke and Byrne together across the street 
from O'Connell's saloon. 

Nearly all the men in the saloon at the time of the 
tragedy stated that the robber who fired from the side door 
was the same size and dressed the same as Byrne, but owing 
to the mask they could not see his face. 

On January 15, 1907, Police Judge Shortall held Byrne 
to answer before the Superior Court for the murder of 

When the case was called before Judge Lawlor of the 
Superior Court, Byrne testified that he knew absolutely 
nothing in regard to the killing of O'Connell, but after so 
testifying he made a statement to Assistant District Attor- 
ney O'Gara and Captain Duke which was substantially as 
follows : 

"That part of my testimony wherein I stated I knew 
nothing in regard to the murder of O'Connell was false. 

"I was in the barroom of Sullivan's saloon on the night 
of the tragedy and we heard several shots. A couple of 
ll minutes later, Tom Hogan, a young blacksmith employed 
on Brannan near Third street, ran in the back way of Sul- 
livan's place. He cried : 'They got Burke and pretty near 
got me.' 

46 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

"There was blood on Hogan's jaw and a bullet was 
sticking in his chin. I pulled it out and threw it out the 
back door. Two of the gang then led Hogan out the back 
door." Byrne was recalled for further cross-examination 
and repeated this story before the jury. 

Hogan was at once apprehended and there was a no- 
ticeable scar at the point indicated by Byrne. 

It was proven, however, that this scar was the result of 
a wound caused by a kick during a street fight two weeks 
before the tragedy. 

Byrne evidently saw the wound, and decided to invent 
this story to save his own neck. 

Several of Byrne's friends, who were in Sullivan's sa- 
loon throughout the evening of the shooting and perjured 
themselves in an effort to prove an alibi for the defendant, 
denounced Byrne for inventing the Hogan story. Hogan 
proved by several witnesses that he was attending a birth- 
day party miles from the scene of the shooting at the time 
it occurred. 

Experts testified that the wound on Hogan's chin was 
not caused by a bullet and explained the improbability of a 
bullet remaining in the position described by Byrne. 

On April 13, 1907, the defendant was found guilty of 
murder and sentenced to be hanged, but Attorney Theodore 
Roche, who ably handled the defense, has appealed to the 
Supreme Court for a new trial. 

The Killing of Policeman Edward J. McCartney. 

McCartney was born in Seneca County, New York, on 
November 10, 1879. He joined the Police Department on 
May 9, 1907, and was assigned to the Mission Station. 

In May, 1907, the entire street-car system in San Fran- 
cisco was temporarily tied up owing to differences between 
the Carmen's Union and the railroad companies, but within 
a few days the cars were again operated by non-union men. 

On Labor Day, September 2, 1907, no settlement had 
been reached and the non-union men were still operating the 

About 3 o'clock on the following morning. Officers P. J. 

San Francisco Cases 47 

Mitchell and Edward McCartney were standing at the cor- 
ner of Twenty-fourth and Folsom streets when they heard 
an unusual noise at Crowley's saloon, located at Twenty- 
fourth and Howard streets. They proceeded in that direc- 
tion when four men came out of the saloon whom the 
officers intercepted at Shotwell street. Just then two of the 
men turned down Shotwell street but the officers accosted 
the other two and after warning them to cease raising a 
disturbance at that hour, ordered them to go home. 

Neither man showed any disposition to move, and 
one who was a physical giant, said : "I guess the streets 
are free." The officers then shoved both men violently and 
told them to move on or be locked up. 

The two men then walked down Twenty-fourth street 
and disappeared in the darkness. 

The officers crossed the street to a restaurant for the 
purpose of getting a cup of coffee but as none was prepared 
they returned to the street. They walked down Twenty- 
fourth street and stopped under an awning. They had been 
there but a few moments when they saw the two men they 
had ordered away coming back on the same side of the 
street that the officers were on but which was the opposite 
side from where the first conversation was had. As it was 
quite dark where the officers were standing it is probable 
that these two men did not observe them until the officers 
came out upon them from under the awning. 

According to the statement subsequently made by Of- 
ficer (now Corporal) Mitchell, he seized the small man 
while McCartney advanced toward the large man. 

Just then the large man suddenly drew a revolver and 
fired two shots, one of which struck McCartney in the neck 
inflicting a wound which caused almost instant death. 

McCartney fell into Mitchell's arms and by the time 
he had laid the dying officer on the sidewalk, the two men 
had disappeared in the darkness. 

Acting Lieutenant Arthur Layne of the Mission Station 
was notified of the tragedy and after procuring good descrip- 
tions of the two men he proceeded to the car barn at Twen- 
ty-fourth and Utah streets as he suspected that the assassin 

48 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

was a railroad man. As the man wanted was unusually 
large and wore his hair in a peculiar manner, the railroad 
inspector stated that the description fitted but two railroad 
men at that barn; one being a man named Nickol and the 
other a striking carman named John Tansey. Nickol was 
located and interrogated but he easily proved an alibi and 
Mitchell said he was not the man. 

Tansey was then located in his bed at 1025 Vermont 
street, where he claimed he had been since midnight. But 
Mitchell positively identified him as the man who had fired 
the shot and he was arrested. 

The next day Acting Lieutenant Layne learned that a 
man named Bell was Tansey's companion on the night of 
the tragedy and he was at once apprehended. He unhesi- 
tatingly admitted that he was with Tansey and that it was 
Tansey who killed the police officer. Bell was released but 
was subpoenaed as a witness. He disappeared, however, and 
has never been seen since. 

When the case came to trial, Tansey admitted that he 
was present when the shot was fired but claimed that it 
was Bell who fired it. 

Tansey was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 
ten years' imprisonment, but was paroled on May 10, 1909, 
as he had become a victim of consumption. 

The Murder of Police Officer William Heins. 

William Heins was born in San Francisco on August 
11, 1870. He was a lithographer by trade and followed that 
occupation until he was appointed a member of the Police 
Department on September 4, 1896. 

On the watch beginning at midnight June 4, 1908, he 
was assigned to patrol Pacific street from Battery to Stock- 

About 12 :30 a. m. of that date, Thomas O'Young and 
James O'Young, 19 years old, twin brothers, who looked 
exactly alike, entered the O. K. saloon located on the south 
side of Pacific street near Montgomery and shortly after- 
ward engaged in a dispute with a waiter named Robert 
Pacheco, in regard to the payment for a bottle of beer. 

♦Tansey was not paroled but bailed oat pending appeal. A new 
%ial bciug denied, he was sent to San Quentin •n January 5, 1910. 

San Francisco Cases 49 

During the controversy Tom O'Young drew a pistol 
which he pointed at the waiter, but a waitress named Lucile 
Sharpe pulled the ruffian's arm down to his side. While 
in this position the weapon was discharged, the bullet enter- 
ing the floor and the flash setting fire to O'Young's trousers. 
Some sailors then disarmed him and upon being informed 
that the police were coming, he proceeded to leave the place. 
He was closely followed by his brother James who passed 
him another pistol, at the same time saying: "Take this, 
Tom, you may need it." Tom placed the weapon in the 
waistband of his trousers. 

He then started to run east on the south side of Pacific 
street. Officer Heins being attracted by the shot, started 
in pursuit and ordered Young to halt, at the same time firing 
a shot into a vacant building nearby. 

At that instant Young fell to the sidewalk. Heins im- 
mediately came upon him and said : "Get up, you're not 
hurt," at the same time endeavoring to assist the man to his 
feet. While still lying on the sidewalk. Young drew his 
pistol and shot Heins, the bullet passing through his left 
arm and then into his chest, producing a wound which re- 
sulted fatally shortly afterward. 

Tom then jumped to his feet and was joined by his 
brother James, who was on the opposite side of the street 
when the shot was fired. 

The latter was heard to say: "Did you get him?" to 
which Tom replied : "You bet I did." 

The two brothers then ran down Montgomery street 
toward Jackson, Tom passing the pistol back to James. 

Tom stumbled and fell and upon getting up, ran down 
into an excavated lot on Jackson near Montgomery. James 
ran to the International saloon at Kearny and Jackson, and 
proceeded directly to the toilet where he hid the pistol be- 
hind an ash can. He was immediately apprehended by citi- 
zens and turned over to the police. 

Officers J. B. O'Connor and John Evatt were informed 
by S. H. Vansyckel of Morse's Patrol that one of the 
brothers was secreted in the excavated lot, but it was so 


50 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

dark that the officers surrounded the lot and sent for lan- 

These two brothers not only looked alike but dressed 
alike, except that Tom wore a red necktie. 

When the lanterns arrived, Evatt and O'Connor pro- 
ceeded down into the lot and found Young. As the tie was 
missing, a further search was made immediately and it was 
found where Young attempted to conceal it. 

When James O'Young was interrogated at the prison 
by Chief Biggy and Captain Duke he admitted that he saw 
his brother Tom kill the officer and he signed a statement 
to that effect. 

Both men were held to answer before the Superior 
Court. Tom O'Young had two trials, the jury disagreeing 
the first time. 

Attorney Joseph Dunne was engaged as special prose- 
cutor during the next trial. In an effort to save his brother, 
James testified that he fired the fatal shot. The jury found 
Tom gn^iilty on May 1, 1909, and he was sentenced to life 

On August 21 James was found guilty of manslaughter 
and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. 

The Murder of Sergeant Anton Nolting and His Remark- 
able Presentiment. 

Anton J. F. Nolting was born in San Francisco on 
February 9, 1860. 

He was of a studious disposition and acquired a high 

As a young man he was in comfortable circumstances 
financially but meeting with reverses, he joined the police 
force on December 2, 1895. 

On March 29, 1905, he was made a Corporal and on 
July 9, 1907, was advanced to the rank of Sergeant. 

Because of his quiet, unassuming and kindly manner, 
he was one of the most popular men in the department and 
was also generally admired because of his devotion to his 
invalid wife. 

San Francisco Cases 51 

On October 2, 1907, he was assigned as a Patrol Ser- 
geant to the Central Station. 

He reported for duty on the watch beginning at mid- 
night January 8, 1909, and it was noted that he was in an 
extremely melancholy mood. 

As a storm was raging, all patrol officers wore regula- 
tion rain coats throughout this watch. 

About 1 a. m., Nolting met Officer William Cavanaugh 
at Kearny and Bush streets. The Sergeant said that he 
felt that something terrible had happened or was about to 

After some meditation he said : "Perhaps something 
has happened to my poor wife." 

Nolting complained of dizziness and at Cavanaugh's 
suggestion he went into the saloon at the southeast corner 
of Kearny and California streets and ordered a bromo- 
seltzer. The Sergeant then said he did not want to be alone 
and requested Cavanaugh to accompany him down Califor- 
nia to Montgomery street. Upon reaching that corner Nol- 
ting thought he saw the Montgomery street officer at Sacra- 
mento street and proceeded alone in that direction, Cava- 
naugh returning toward Kearny street.* 

About the time Nolting reached Sacramento street he 
heard a shot fired on Washington street near Montgomery. 

He proceeded in that direction, but when he reached 
Clay street he observed a soldier with a drawn pistol who 
was in the act of forcing two other soldiers to march ahead 
of him. Nolting approached the trio and began to expostu- 
late with the soldier with the drawn revolver. At this in- 
stant the other two soldiers fled down Clay street toward 
the ferry. Seeing that he could accomplish nothing by argu- 
ment, the Sergeant closed in on the soldier and began grap- 
pling for the pistol. Nolting slipped and fell and while his 
back was partially turned, the soldier fired into his body, 
inflicting a wound which caused almost instant death. After 
firing three more shots at the officer, the soldier attempted 

* Subsequent discoveries proved that Nolting had evidently 
mistaken a civilian, who was also wearing a rain coat, for the 

52 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

to escape. He ran into a vacant lot which was almost 
immediately surrounded by Officers Brady, Teutenberg, 
Cavanaugh and Sheble, who were attracted to the scene by^ 
the shots. These officers closed in on the assassin shortly 
after he stumbled and fell and they found the empty revolver 
by his side. 

When taken before Captains Anderson and Duke at the 
Central Station, he disclaimed all knowledge of the shooting 
and claimed that his mind was a complete blank regarding 
his actions during the preceding hour. 

He stated that his name was Thomas Jordan and that 
he belonged to the Coast Artilery stationed at Fort Baker. 
Shortly afterward, the two other soldiers were apprehended 
at the water front. 

One of the two made a statement substantially as fol- 

"My name is Charles Nibarger and my companion's 
name is John Kralikouski. We are soldiers stationed at 
Fort Baker. I had been sent out as a provost guard and 
was armed with a revolver. I was in the New Western 
saloon at Kearny and Washington about midnight with 
Jordan and Kralikouski. In some manner Jordan got pos- 
session of my gun and pointing it at Kralikouski and me, he 
ordered us to march ahead of him. When we were going 
down Washington street he said we were not moving fast 
enough and he fired a shot in the air. When we reached 
Montgomery street he ordered us to turn toward Clay. 
When we reached the last named street, the police Sergeant 
approached and asked who fired the shot. 

"While he and Jordan were arguing we ran down Clay 
street. We had only traveled about forty feet when we 
heard the shots." 

On Sunday, January 10, Sergeant Nolting's funeral took 
place. The Mayor, Police Commissioners and about 300 of- 
ficers attended. The largest floral piece around the casket 
was one sent by the soldiers from Fort Baker. 

Jordan was held to answer in the Superior Court. The 


San Francisco Cases 53 

defendant claimed that he was in an "alcoholic trance" when 
the deed was done. 

Hiram Johnson was retained as special prosecutor. 

On March 12, 1909, Jordan was found guilty and sen- 
tenced to life imprisonment. 

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Nolting failed 
rapidly and she was found dead in her bathtub on October 
24 of the same vear. 


(From A. E. Wagstaff's History.) 

David C. Broderick was born in the District of Columbia 
on February 4, 1820, and as a boy worked with his father as 
a stonecutter on the United States Capitol building. He after- 
wards joined the New York Volunteer Fire Department and 
conducted a saloon; at the same time becoming a politician. 
He left for San Francisco, arriving on June 13, 1849. He 
was a leader in organizing the volunteer fire department here, 
"Broderick No. 1" being the name given one of the fire com- 
panies in his honor. 

On January 8, 1850, Broderick was elected a State Senator 
and was subsequently elected president of the Senate. He 
innocently made a false accusation against ex-Governor Smith 
of Virginia, which caused the latter's son, Judge Caleb Smith, 
to challenge him to fight a duel. The challenge was accepted 
and the duel occurred on March 17, 1852, near Oakland Point. 
No injuries were inflicted but Smith's bullet struck Broderick's 
watch. Broderick subsequently apologized before the Senate 
for his offensive remarks. 

After a long and bitter fight, lasting for years, Broderick 
was elected United States Senator on January 9, 1857. 

David S. Terry was born in Todd County, Kentucky, on 
March 8, 1823. He came from a family of warriors, his grand- 
father commanding a regiment during the Revolution. His 

54 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

older brother was killed while commanding a regiment of Con- 
federates, and his youngest brother, a prominent Southern at- 
torney, while not actually participating in that war, asked for 
and was granted permission to witness the battle of Shiloh and 
was killed the first day. 

Terry's father contracted habits which forced his wife to 
procure a divorce, and in 1833 she moved to Texas with her 
children, where she purchased a large cotton plantation. In 
1836 Mrs. Terry died, and in the same year, David, then in his 
thirteenth year, participated in the battle of San Jacinto, and 
on the achievement of Texan independence returned to his 

In 1841 he began studying law and in 1843 was admitted 
to the bar, shortly afterward opening an office in Galveston, 
Texas. In 1846, when the war between the United States and 
Mexico was inaugurated, he enlisted as a lieutenant. 

In December, 1849, Terry came to California, and afterj 
mining in Calaveras County for a few months, he began the 
practice of law in Stockton. Shortly after this he was induced 
to accept the nomination for Mayor of Stockton on the Whig 
ticket, but he was defeated by Samuel Purdy. 

In September, 1855, Terry was the Know-Nothing party's 
candidate for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. He 
was elected and took office the next month. 

On June 20, 1856, he was arrested by the Vigilance Com- 
mittee for stabbing Officer Hopkins, and was held in custody 
until August 7. (See history of Vigilance Committee.) Dur- 
ing Terry's incarceration Broderick did all in his power to 
assist him and they were close friends. 

When the Lecompton convention was held in 1859, Brod- 
erick was in control and Terry sought to be renominated, but 
it was decided by Broderick that it would not be good policy 
to give him the nomination. This caused Terry to deliver a 
speech in Sacramento in June, 1859, in which he stated that 
the convention which refused to nominate him was owned by 
a man whom they were ashamed to acknowledge as their mas- 

Two days afterward Broderick was seated at the break-i 

San Francisco Cases 55 

fast table in the International Hotel in San Francisco, and on 
reading this speech called the attention of D. W. Perley, a 
former law partner of Terry's, to its contents. Broderick then 
referred to Terry as a "damned miserable ingrate" for failing 
to appreciate what he (Broderick) had done for him while he 
was in the custody of the Vigilantes, He further stated that 
he had changed his mind in regard to Terry's honesty. 

Perley took the matter personally and challenged Broder- 
ick to fight a duel, but Broderick declined to accept the chal- 
lenge because he was about to enter into a bitter political 
campaign, and for the further reason that Perley did not 
occupy an equally elevated or responsible position. But he 
added that when the campaign was concluded he would be 
prepared to answer for any statement made by him. 

Terry, learning of this significant statement, decided to 
wait until after the election, which occurred on September 7 
and resulted in the defeat of Broderick by U. S. Senator 
William T. Guinn, who had the distinction of being one of 
the two first United States Senators from California in 1850, 
John C. Fremont being his colleague. Terry then addressed 
the following letter to Broderick: 

"Oakland, September 8, 1859. 

"Hon. D. C. Broderick — Sir: Some two months since, 
at the public table of the International Hotel, in San Fran- 
cisco, you saw fit to indulge in certain remarks concerning 
me, which were offensive in their nature. Before I had 
heard of the circumstance, your note of 20th of June, ad- 
dressed to Mr. D. W. Perley, in which you declared that 
you would not respond to any call of a personal character 
during the political canvass just concluded, had been pub- 

"I have, therefore, not been permitted to take any notice 
of those remarks until the expiration of the limit fixed by 
yourself. I now take the earliest opportunity to require of 
you a retraction of those remarks. This note will be handed 
to you by my friend, Calhoun Benham, Esq., who is ac- 
quainted with its contents, and will receive your reply. 

"D, S, Terry," 

Broderick requested Terry to designate what remarks 
were considered offensive, Terry did so and the Senator re- 

56 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

plied that he had made the statements attributed to him and 
that it was for him (Terry) to judge whether they afforded 
good grounds for offense. 

Terry then stated that he was left no alternative but to 
demand the satisfaction usual among gentlemen, and ap- 
pointed Calhoun Benham, former district attorney in San 
Francisco, to arrange the details. Terry then resigned as 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 

The seconds met, decided that pistols should be the 
weapons used, and that the time and place of the meeting 
would be at sunrise, September 11, 1859, near Lake Merced, 
San Mateo County. 

Captain of Detectives I. W. Lees and Detective H. H. 
Ellis procured warrants for their arrest from Judge Coon 
and followed the carriages to the dueling ground. When 
the distance had been measured off and Terry and Broderick 
were handed their weapons, they were placed under arrest, 
but the cases were dismissed by Judge Coon the next day. 

On the following morning, September 13, they met again 
near the same place. It was agreed that the combatants^ 
should fire at the count of three, but at the count of one 
Broderick accidentally discharged his pistol, the ball striking 
the ground nine feet from him, but in the direction of Terry. 
Just at the count of "two" Terry fired, the ball striking Brod- 
erick in the chest. His frame trembled like a ship that 
had struck a rock. He gradually released his hold on his 
weapon, and after a heavy convulsion, sank to the ground. 
The gigantic Terry stood like a statue with his arms folded, 
closely watching Broderick. 

When the condition of Broderick was announced, Terry 
left the field with his seconds, ex-District Attorney Calhoun 
Benham and Thomas Hayes, after whom "Hayes Valley" was 
named, and they proceeded to Terry's home near Stockton. 

On the 16th inst. Broderick died, and Lees and Ellis 
procured warrants for Terry's arrest. Mr. Ellis, who subse- 
quently served as Chief of Police, related to the author his 
experience in attempting to serve the warrant, in the fol-J 
lowing language: 

San Francisco Cases 57 

"Lees and I procured a warrant against Terry and had 
it properly endorsed. We then proceeded to Terry's home. 
When we arrived within about one hundred feet of the house, 
a window was thrown open and Calhoun Benham, Tom 
Hayes, Sheriff O'Neill and Terry leveled shotguns at us 
and told us to 'halt.' 

"We did so and announced that we were officers with a 
warrant for Terry. He stated that he was certain that he 
would not receive a fair trial and feared violence at that 
time, but agreed to surrender three days afterwards at Oak- 
land. Knowing that he would keep his word in this, as we 
also knew he would do when he told us that if we came 
nearer to his house they would all shoot, we decided to allow 
him to dictate terms. He surrendered as per agreement, 
and the case was heard by Judge James Hardy in Marin 
County, a change of venue having been granted because of 
the alleged prejudice against Terry in San Francisco. This 
case was dismissed but Terry was subsequently indicted by 
the Grand Jury in San Mateo County. The point was then 
raised that he had been once in jeopardy, and being well 
taken, that case was also dismissed." 

After his acquittal Terry was practically ostracized. He 
went to the mines in Virginia City, but in 1862 returned to 
Stockton, where he resumed the practice of law. In 1863 he 
joined the Confederate Army as a Colonel. He rose to the 
rank of Brigadier-General and was placed in command of 
a brigade from Texas. 

Disgruntled at the outcome of the Rebellion he returned 
to Texas and engaged in the wool and cotton industries, but 
failing in this, he again returned to Stockton, where he re- 
sumed the practice of law. 

In 1878 he was elected a delegate to the convention to 
revise the State Constitution, and in 1880 he was selected as 
a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket. 

Judge Terry's wife died on December 24, 1884. 

Sarah Althea Hill was born in Missouri in 1848. In 
1854 her parents died, leaving her and her brother Morgan 

58 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

an estate valued at $40,000.00. Sarah received a good edu- 
cation and developed into a beautiful young woman. 

In 1870 she came to California with her uncle, who pro- 
vided her with a suite of rooms in the Palace Hotel. Here 
she met the owner of the hotel, United States Senator Wil- 
liam Sharon, from Nevada, a multi-millionaire. 

In 1883 Sarah Althea produced a document claiming that 
it was a marriage contract entered into between Sharon and 
herself on August 25, 1880. On October 3 Sharon began 
proceedings to have the marriage contract, alleged to have 
been entered into by Miss Hill and himself, declared null 
and void. A long and bitter fight ensued, at the outset of 
which Miss Hill was represented by Attorney W. B. Tyler. 

On August 3, 1885, S. C. Houghton, acting as Examiner 
in Chancery of the United States Circuit Court, had a witness 
named R. U. Piper on the witness stand undergoing exami- 
nation in reference to this case. At this hearing William M. 
Stewart was representing the Sharon interests. While Piper 
was testifying. Miss Hill became enraged at Attorney Stewart 
and cried out : "I feel like taking that man Stewart out and 
cowhiding him. I will shoot him yet; that very man sitting 

The Master in Chancery attempted to pacify her and 
succeeded for the moment, but shortly afterward she opened 
a satchel and drawing out a revolver, pointed it at Judge 
O. P. Evans, also of opposing counsel. He remained cool 
and asked her if she wanted to shoot anybody. She replied: 
"I am not going to shoot you now unless you would like to 
be shot and think you deserve it." He assured her that he 
had no desire to undergo any such experience, and after con- 
siderable persuasion she handed the revolver to the Master 
in Chancery and the examination immediately adjourned. 

On August 5 this incident was reported to Judges Field 
and Sawyer, who were then Judges of the United States Cir- 
cuit Court, but no action was taken, other than the issuance 
of an order that the Marshal of the Court should take all 
such measures as might be deemed necessary to keep the de- 

San Francisco Cases 59 

fendant disarmed and under strict surveillance while attend- 
ing the examination. 

Judge Terry finally took charge of Miss Hill's case, but 
on the death of Senator Sharon at the Palace Hotel on No- 
vember 14, 1885, a new fight began for the estate. On Jan- 
uary 7, 1886, Judge Terry married his fair client. 

The fight for the estate was continued until September 
24, 1888, when Stephen Field, who at this time was a Justice 
of the United States Supreme Court, rendered a decision 
against the Terrys. At this point Mrs. Terry jumped up 
and cried out to the Justice : "How much money did you get 
for that decision?" The Court ordered United States Mar- 
shal Franks to put her out of the courtroom, whereupon 
Terry sprang to his feet and dared any one to lay a hand on 
his wife. The Marshal ignored Terry's remark and forcibly 
ejected Mrs. Terry. Her husband then drew a bowie knife 
and attempted to follow Franks, but was overpowered. 

As a result of this outbreak, Terry was found guilty of 
contempt of court and was sentenced to six months' imprison- 
ment in the Alameda County Jail and his wife was sentenced 
to thirty days' imprisonment. 

While in jail Terry swore he would have revenge, and as 
a result David Neagle was appointed Deputy United States 
Marshal and assigned as bodyguard to Justice Field. Neagle 
was born and raised in San Francisco, where he took an 
active part in politics. He afterward went to Tombstone, 
Arizona, where he served as City Marshal. One day, one of 
Neagle's officers was shot by a Mexican desperado, who then 
rode away to the hills. Neagle pursued him, and the next 
day came into town on horseback with the Mexican's body 
thrown over the saddle in front of him. He then went to 
Butte, Montana, but returned to San Francisco in 1883. He 
was employed in the Tax Collector's office when appointed to 
guard Justice Field, whom he accompanied to Los Angeles. 

On August 13, 1889, the court adjourned in Los Angeles, 
and Field and Neagle started for San Francisco. On reach- 
ing Fresno, Terry and his wife boarded the same train, but 
did not see Justice Field then. 

6o Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

At 8:15 a. m., August 14, the train arrived at Lathrop 
and stopped to allow the passengers to partake of breakfast in 
the dining-room in the depot. Justice Field and Neagle pre- 
ceded Terry and his wife to the dining-room. Immediately 
after Judge Terry and his wife took their seats, Mrs. Terry 
observed Justice Field, and, after informing her husband of 
his presence, she arose and left the dining-room hurriedly. 

T. W. Stackpole, who conducted the dining-room, recog- 
nized his gfuests, and being familiar with their past differ- 
ences, and feeling somewhat uneasy at Mrs. Terry's actions, 
he approached her husband and asked if she contemplated 
doing anything rash. Terry gave an evasive answer, and im- 
mediately arose, walked over to Justice Field, and slapped his 
face. Neagle jumped to his feet with his revolver drawn, 
and, as Terry was about to continue the assault, Neagle placed 
the revolver to Terry's chest and fired. The latter sank to the 
floor and died instantly. 

His wife heard the shot, and rushed to the dining-room 
with an open satchel in her hand. She was stopped by Stack- 
pole, who removed a revolver from the satchel. Mrs. Terry 
then became hysterical and cried for vengeance. 

Field and Neagle returned to their stateroom, where they 
were joined by Constable Walker, who placed Neagle under 
arrest and took him to the jail in Stockton. 

Justice Field was arrested on August 16 in San Fran- 
cisco on a warrant sworn to by Mrs. Terry, charging him with 
complicity in the "murder." 

The case against Justice Field was dismissed in the Circuit 
Court on August 27, 1889. He presented Neagle with a gold 
watch and chain as a token of his appreciation for services 

Neagle's case was finally dismissed in the United States 
Circuit Court on September 16, 1889, where it was taken on a 
writ of habeas corpus. 

Since his acquittal, Neagle has acted as a bodyguard for 
different prominent men in San Francisco. 

Mrs. Terry became a physical and mental wreck after the 
death of her husband, and on March 10, 1892, she was com- 
mitted to the Stockton Insane Asylum. 

San Francisco Cases 6i 


In February, 1848, the brig "Eagle" arrived in San 
''rancisco harbor with the first Chinese to enter this city. The 
irty consisted of two men and one woman. There was no 
jfemonstration against this race at first, but by 1852 it is esti- 
lated that at least 8,000 Chinese had arrived in this State, 
id as their frugality made it impossible for white laborers to 
)mpete with them, considerable apprehension was entertained 
to the eflfect their presence would have on the white popu- 
lation. In 1877 many of the white men had grown to abhor 
the Chinese, and numerous acts of violence were committed. 

About this time, Dennis Kearney, a drayman, belonged 
to a debating club which met at Dashaway Hall, near Grant 
avenue and Post streets. Topics of the day were discussed, 
but as the feeling was strong against the Chinese, Kearney 
decided to devote his "eloquence" to that subject. As his fol- 
lowing grew rapidly, he was forced to hold his meetings out 
of doors and the sandlot in front of the City Hall dome, oppo- 
site Eighth and Market streets became his meeting-place. At 
that time Kearney enjoyed the complete confidence of his fol- 
lowing, who were wrought up to a high pitch of excitement 
by his incendiary speeches. 

Because of numerous strikes in the East at the time, a 
mass meeting was held in San Francisco on July 23, 1877. Al- 
leged orators took advantage of the occasion and prophesied 
that similar conditions would soon exist in San Francisco if 
the Chinese were not driven out. 

After the meeting adjourned a gang of hoodlums pro- 
ceeded to several Chinese washhouses and wrecked them and 
assaulted the Chinese. They concluded their work by setting 
fire to a washhouse at Leavenworth and Turk streets. 

On the following day a Committee of Safety was organ- 
ized, as the police force, consisting of 150 men, was unable to 
cope with the situation. William T. Coleman, of Vigilante 
fame, was selected as a leader. Five thousand citizens joined 

62 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

the organization and they met at Horticultural Hall, on Stock- 
ton, near Post street. 

On July 25 a mob burned a large lumber yard near the 
mail dock, located at First and Brannan streets, and attempted 
to burn the dock because the Chinese were landed there, but 
were repulsed by the safety committee and police. In this 
battle the committee was armed with rifles and pickhandles. 
Several men were shot and otherwise wounded on this occa- 

On July 27 a James Smith was arrested for setting the 
lumber yard fire and held on $20,000 bail. 

On July 30, 1877, the Citizens' Committee disbanded. 

On January 3, 1878, Kearney forrned a parade of fifteen 
hundred of his followers and marched to the City Hall and 
demanded that Mayor A. J. Bryant provide them with work. 
The Mayor explained that he was powerless to furnish em- 
ployment, whereupon they returned to the sandlot, where 
Kearney made a speech which resulted in an indictment being 
found against him on January 5, charging him with uttering 
language with intent to incite riot. 

About January 17, 1878, the McCoppin bill increasing the 
San Francisco police force from 150 to 400 men was passed 
because of these riots. 

Congressman Tom Geary presented a bill before Congress 
known as the "Chinese Exclusion Act." This bill became a 
law on May 6, 1882. Kearney went to Washington in the in- 
terest of the bill, and when he returned to San Francisco his 
followers carried him through the streets amid great en- 

On May 5, 1892, a law went into eflFect which provided that 
all Chinese laborers must procure certificates of residence be- 
fore May 6, 1893, and by affirmative proof show their right to 
remain in the country. 

The first Chinaman to be deported under this law was 
Ming Lee Twe. He was shipped on the Rio de Janeiro, and 
the United States Government paid his fare, amounting to $30. 




San Francisco Cases 63 


In 1865 there resided in San Francisco a young man 
named George Hill, who had inherited a comfortable fortune, 
which he had almost entirely dissipated in the gambling games. 
He was a flashy dresser and constantly wore a scarf pin, said 
to contain a cluster of diamonds valued at $1,500. 

Hill had a room in the Mansion House, on Dupont, near 
Sacramento street, and on February 15, 1865, he disappeared. 
Being of a somewhat wild and roving disposition, no signifi- 
cance was attached to this, either by his landlady or associates. 

Some weeks after his disappearance, a gardener named 
Mr. McGloin was walking through the sand out near his home 
in San Souci Valley, which is now better designated as the 
vicinity of Fulton and Baker streets. A dog he had with him 
began pulling and tugging at a piece of hay rope, which ap- 
peared to be securely fastened to something buried under the 

Curiosity prompted Mr. McGloin to investigate, and to 
his horror he found tha,t the rope was tied around the badly 
decomposed body of a man. He immediately informed the 
police of his discovery and the body was brought into town 
for identification. There was a hole in the side of the head 
made by some blunt instrument which had evidently caused his 
death. All valuables had been removed from the body. 

Owing to the advanced state of decomposition, it was 
very difficult to identify the body and the authorities were 
about to bury the remains when a newspaper reporter who 
knew Hill well, identified the body. 

The police then proceeded to Hill's room, and the land- 
lady stated that the day after his disappearance, a young man 
whom she described accurately had come to her house and 
stated that Hill was about to go to Contra Costa County to 
procure some money, but that he had met with an accident. 

The stranger produced a shirt which had some blood on 
it and stated that Hill had instructed him to exchange it for a 

64 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

clean one. He was admitted to Hill's room and, after putting 
the bloody shirt in the trunk and removing some other articles, 
he departed, but returned shortly afterward to regain posses- 
sion of the shirt. The landlady's suspicions becoming aroused 
she refused to admit him to Hill's room. 

One of the officers who heard the landlady describe this 
man recalled that a man then in custody on a charge of for- 
gery answered that description perfectly. Upon being brought 
before the landlady he was positively identified as the man she 
referred to and it was learned that his name was Thomas 
Byrnes, a butcher by trade and the son of the keeper of a 
roadhouse near Calvary Cemetery. 

Mr. McGloin, who discovered Hill's body, was a warm 
friend of the family of the murderer. 

It was ascertained that on the evening of February 15, 
1865, Hill procured a two-horse buggy from Wright & Roden's 
livery stable on Kearny street, near Pine, and in company with 
Byrnes started for the Cliff House. 

About midnight the horses returned alone to the stable, 
causing the stable-keeper to conclude that there had been a 
runaway and that the horses had broken away from the vehicle. 
After a while Byrnes came in and stated that they had met 
with an accident and that his partner being injured, had sent 
him for another team. 

Before starting away with his second rig, Byrnes asked 
for a shovel, stating that he wanted to dig the wheels of the 
other buggy out of the sand. It was observed by the stable 
man that Byrnes threw a piece of hay-rope into the buggy. 

When Hill and Byrnes started the first time, Byrnes in- 
sisted on taking a monkey-wrench along, stating that it might 
be needed. 

When they arrived at a spot near where the body was 
found, Brynes crushed Hill's skull with the monkey-wrench, the 
end of which fitted into the wound perfectly. He then cut the 
harness and scared the horses away, to make it appear that 
Hill met his death in a runaway accident. He reconsidered, 
however, and decided that the runaway would not account for 

San Francisco Cases 65 

the loss of Hill's property, so the idea of burying the body 
came to his mind. The rope was used to drag it into the sand, 
and of course the shovel was used to dig the grave. 

It was afterwards learned that Byrnes attempted to pawn 
Hill's jewelry and was greatly chagrined to learn that "dia- 
monds" which he thought were worth nearly two thousand 
dollars, were in reality worth less than three dollars. 

Byrnes was found guilty of murder and after a futile ap- 
peal to the Supreme Court was executed on September 3, 1866. 


Alexander Crittenden was born in Lexington, Ky., on 
January 14, 1816. Andrew Jackson was a close friend of his 
family, and it was through Jackson's influence that Alexander 
was sent to West Point. He graduated from this military col- 
lege with Sherman and remained in the army about one year. 
At the age of twenty-two he married and went to Texas, where 
he was admitted to the bar. In 1852 he came to San Francisco 
and associated himself with S. M. Wilson. Under the firm 
name of Crittenden & Wilson, they became one of the most 
prominent law firms in San Francisco. 

Laura D. Fair was a native of Mississippi, and at the age 
of sixteen she married a man named Stone, who died about 
one year afterward. She then married a Thomas Gracien of 
New Orleans, but a divorce was obtained six months after- 
ward. In 1859 she married Colonel W. B. Fair, who was at 
that time Sheriff of Shasta County, California, but who subse- 
quently moved to San Francisco with his wife. Owing to 
family troubles he committed suicide in December, 1861. After 
the death of her husband, Mrs. Fair conducted the Tahoe 
House in Virginia City. 

During the war her sympathies were with the South to 
such an extent that she took a shot at a Northern soldier, but 

66 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

as her aim was very bad she was never punished for her action. 
On another occasion she shot a man at the Russ House 
in San Francisco, whom she claimed had made a disparaging 
remark concerning her, but again her aim was bad and again 
she escaped prosecution, 

Mrs. Fair had some ability as an actress and appeared at 
the Metropolitan Theatre in Sacramento on March 5, 1863, as 
Lady Teazle in the "School for Scandal." In August, 1870, a 
young man named Jesse Snyder married her, but on October 
8 of the same year they were divorced. 

In September, 1870, Crittenden sent his wife and seven 
children East for a pleasure trip, and on the afternoon of No-- 
vember 3 he went to Oakland to greet them on their return. 
He met his family at the Oakland pier and accompanied them 
aboard the ferry El Capitan. From the time of the family re- 
union, Mr. Crittenden's son, Parker, noticed a woman dressed 
in black and heavily veiled, who seemed to be watching their 
actions very closely, and when the family were seated on the 
boat she hurried toward them and, suddenly whipping out a 
pistol, shot Crittenden Senior in the chest. The wounded man 
fell unconscious and the woman hurried away and took a seat, 
but Captain Kentzel of the Harbor Police, who was on the boat 
at the time, disarmed her and placed her under arrest. It was 
subsequently learned that she was Mrs. Laura D. Fair. Im- 
mediately after being arrested she began to act in a peculiar 
manner, and when a stimulant was handed to her in a glass 
of water, she bit a piece out of the glass. 

At 6 p. m., November 5, Crittenden died, and on the day 
of his funeral the Federal, State and municipal courts ad- 
journed. His funeral was one of the largest ever held in San 
Francisco up to that time. 

Mrs. Fair was charged with murder, and during the trial, 
which occurred in San Francisco, she testified that she and 
Crittenden had been intimate for seven years past. The de- 
fense offered was that Crittenden's perfidities had wrought 
havoc with Mrs. Fair's mind and that she was in a blind frenzy 
when she shot him. 

On April 26, 1871, the jury after a short deliberation 


San Francisco Cases 67 

brought in a verdict of guilty of murder, and on June 3, 1871, 
Mrs. Fair was sentenced to be hanged on July 28. 

On July 11 the Supreme Court granted her a stay of ex- 
ecution and finally granted her a new trial, at which she was 
acquitted, because of her attorney's plea to the jury that the 
defendant was a victim of emotional insanity. 

For many years after her acquittal Mrs. Fair made a 
living as a book agent in San Francisco. 


On October 8, 1877, J. C. Duncan, president of Duncan's 
Bank, located at Montgomery and California streets, dis- 
appeared, and the bank failed for $1,213,000, alleged to have 
been caused by Duncan's unfortunate investments made with 
depositors' money. 

A warrant was issued for Duncan's arrest on a charge of 
embezzlement, and Captain Lees received information that 
Duncan was about to take passage on a schooner bound for 
Callao, Peru. This schooner was lying far out in the bay 
opposite "Hathaway's wharf," which was near Steuart and 
Folsom streets. It was also learned that a red stack tug 
would take Duncan outside the heads at nighttime, and that 
he would board the schooner at sea. 

Captain Lees with a posse had the tug "Elaine" in readi- 
ness at North Point dock. At this time Steuart street was in 
such shape that a vehicle could make but little progress on it, 
so Officer John McGreevy, who then held the Coast champion- 
ship for long-distance running, was detailed to watch the 
schooner from Hathaway's wharf. About 3 a. m. he heard the 
sailors heaving anchor, so he ran all the way to North Point, 
and, after imparting this information to Captain Lees, fell from 
exhaustion. Lees ordered his tug out in the stream, and seeing 
another tug, gave chase, but lost it temporarily. The schooner 

68 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

then hove in sight, and, upon overtaking it, Lees sent a posse 
aboard, where they found a part of Duncan's wardrobe. 

With the remainder of his posse he again located the other 
tug and followed it to Mission-street wharf, where they saw a 
man go ashore and disappear among the lumber piles. 

Shortly afterward Captain Lees learned that a lady, who 
conducted a dressmaking parlor at California and Kearny 
streets, was a friend of Duncan's, and on positive information 
being received that she was harboring him, a search was made 
of her apartments on February 24, 1878. Duncan was found 
concealed in what was apparently a bureau, but which had all 
drawers and internal framework removed. Throughout the 
four trials, in all of which the juries disagreed, Mrs. Duncan 
remained loyal to her husband, and lived in the cell with him 
until he was finally discharged. It was reported that Duncan 
was drowned at sea three years afterward. 


At 11 :55 p. m., October 20, 1880, a heavy-set, middle-aged 
man entered the Central Police Station at Washington and 
Kearny streets, and addressing Sergeant John Shields, spoke 
as follows: 

"My name is George Wheeler and I wish to surrender, as 
I have just strangled my sister-in-law, Delia Tillson. Here is 
a key to a trunk in room 14 at 23 Kearny street. Go there and 
you will find her body." 

As this statement was made with the greatest nonchalance, 
the officers were somewhat skeptical. The man was taken into 
custody, however, and officers were sent to the room, where 
they found the trunk as described, and on opening it they found 
that the body of a good-looking and well-proportioned young 
woman had been crowded into it. The body was fully dressed. 
Upon interrogating people who resided in the house, the 
officers learned that this woman was known as Wheeler's wife 
instead of his sister-in-law, and that another woman, who was 
out at the time, was known as the sister-in-law. 



JOHN 5EIMSEN "the (JAspipe thugs- LOUIS DABNER 


RESS-t>lEO iNJfllL. 










San Francisco Cases 69 

The officers then returned to the station, where Wheeler 
voluntarily made an additional statement, as follows : 

"Delia Tillson, the girl whose body you found, is my 
sister-in-law, regardless of any statement made to the contrary, 
and she was 21 years old a few months ago. I married her 
sister Mary in Massachusetts eleven years ago. 

"Six years later I became intimate with Delia, who lived 
in the same house with us. About a year afterward Delia con- 
fessed to my wife that she was in a delicate condition and 
that I was responsible for it. Their folks were highly respected, 
and to avoid a scandal Mary protected Delia and the child was 
bom in our house, but it died a few weeks afterward. 

"Shortly after this the three of us came to San Francisco, 
but failing to obtain employment, I took both women to Cisco, 
Placer County, where I was employed as an engineer. At this 
place Delia met a man named George Peckham, with whom 
she became intimate, according to her confessions to me. By 
this time I had grown to love Delia as much as I did Mary, 
my wife, and the three of us occupied one room. 

"When Delia made this admission I became furious, but I 
forgave her with the understanding that she should cease her 
relations with Peckham and accompany me to San Francisco, 
where we engaged the rooms in which I strangled her to-night, 
and where we were known as man and wife. We came here 
about five months ago. About one month ago my wife located 
us and came to live with us, she posing as my sister-in-law. 

"To-night I went out to see Officer Moorehouse on busi- 
ness, and when I returned Delia was in the rooms and had on 
her hat and gloves. I asked her where she had been. She sat 
on my knee and confessed that she had been in constant com- 
munication with Peckham ever since we left Cisco and that it 
was he who told my wife where we were located. 

"Delia furthermore told me that she and Peckham had 
met that night, and had agreed to go to Sacramento and live 
as man and wife. This admission crazed me, and as she sat on 
my knee I strangled her. I then crowded the body into the 
trunk. My wife was out at the time." 

JO Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Mrs. Wheeler was located, and she reluctantly admitted 
that her husband's statements were substantially correct. 

Notwithstanding his confession, Wheeler made a hard 
fight for his life, and it was only after four trials that he was 
found guilty. He was hanged on January 23, 1884. 


Nicholas Skerritt arrived in San Francisco in March, 1849, 
and almost immediately afterward engaged in the dry goods 
business on Montgomery street near Bush. 

Skerritt could never have been traced through life by the 
money he threw away, and after conducting his dry goods store 
for fifteen years he retired with a fortune of $120,000, which 
he invested in real estate. 

He was an eccentric old bachelor, and resided at 503 Bush 
street with a Mr. Sam Dixon, a stock broker, who was one of 
the few people in whom Skerritt confided his business aflfairs. 

On August 5, 1883, Skerritt came home and informed Mr. 
and Mrs. Dixon that he had met a man named La Rue, who 
had just made considerable money in the Colorado mines. He 
stated that La Rue had a prepossessing appearance and that 
he (Skerritt) had that day consummated a deal whereby La 
Rue was to rent all of his property, with the right to sublet it. 

On Sunday afternoon, August 12, La Rue called at 
Dixon's home and had a conversation with Skerritt. On Mon- 
day, Skerritt left home and never returned. On Wednesday, 
Dixon received the following dispatch from Sacramento : 

"Have made a clean sweep of my real and personal prop- 
erty to parties from Colorado. Going there to complete sale. 
Have one-half in hand. La Rue will take charge ; favor him ; 
he is solid and reliable. 

"N. Skerritt." 

This telegram aroused suspicion in the mind of Dixon, as 

San Francisco Cases 71 

it was not worded in the language ordinarily used by Skerritt. 
He took the telegram to Donald McLea, another friend of 
Skerritt, and McLea stated that he had received a similar dis- 

Knowing that the Donohoe-Kelly Bank transacted con- 
siderable business for the missing man, these two men repaired 
to that institution and learned that they also had received a 
similar message. 

On that same day La Rue called at the home of the 
Dixons and stated that he came to take charge of Skerritt's 
effects, and took away all that he could carry conveniently. 

By this time Dixon's suspicions were fully aroused and 
he notified the police authorities. The case was assigned to 
Detective Robert Hogan, who ascertained that deeds had been 
filed with the Recorder showing the alleged transfer of nearly 
all of Skerritt's property to La Rue. 

On August 27, 1878, a lawyer named Wright Le Roy was 
sent to State Prison for a forgery committed in Alameda 
County, and, although he committed no physical violence, the 
circumstances in connection with the forgery were very similar 
to this case. Le Roy was liberated on May 27, 1883. These 
circumstances, and the similarity of names, caused Hogan to 
suspect that La Rue was in reality Le Roy, and that he could 
explain Skerritt's disappearance. 

It w^as learned that La Rue had made an appointment to 
call at Mr. McLea's home, and Chief Crowley, Captain Lees 
and Detective By ram were there to receive him. When he 
appeared, the officers covered him with revolvers and ordered 
him to throw up his hands. It was then seen that the man 
who assumed the name of La Rue was the ex-convict, Le Roy. 

Captain Lees asked him why he sent the three telegrams 
from Sacramento, but he denied all knowledge of them, and 
he also denied removing Skerritt's personal property from his 
home. Le Roy was taken into custody pending further in- 

Captain Lees sent to the telegraph office at Sacramento 
and had the original messages forwarded to him, and it was 
apparent that they were in Le Roy's handwriting. It was also 

72 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

proven by experts that- it was Le Roy who forged the deeds 
filed with the Recorder. 

When interrogated as to Skerritt's whereabouts, Le Roy 
stated that Skerritt went to Sacramento on the Monday pre- 
vious with two men named Townsend and Miller and that the 
three intended to go to Denver, where Skerritt was to be paid 
for the property which he had sold to these two men. 

He was then sent back to his cell and, after realizing that 
his statement must have sounded ridiculous in view of the 
evidence already obtained, he entangled himself still more 
hopelessly by sending for Captain Lees and admitting that his 
statement regarding Skerritt was false, but that he was pre- 
pared to tell the facts. He then said : 

"I met Townsend three weeks ago at Geary and Dupont 
streets, and he told me he was going to make a raise in some 
manner. At this time Miller joined us and shortly after Sker- 
ritt passed, and I remarked that if Townsend had his (Sker- 
ritt's) money he would not have to make a raise. I then 
introduced Townsend to Skerritt, and afterwards Townsend 
told me that he would capture Skerritt's person and then his 
money. The next time I saw Townsend and Miller, they told 
me that they had accomplished their object. I told them that 
Skerritt's friends would institute a search for him, so at my 
suggestion they wrote the three telegrams which I sent from 
Sacramento. When I asked where Skerritt was, they laughed 
and said that he was O. K. in Contra Costa County." 

When a thorough search was made of Skerritt's room, 
fifty dollars, two diamond studs and other jewelry were found 
which had been overlooked by Le Roy, but which proved con- 
clusively to those who knew Skerritt that he would never 
willingly depart and leave such valuables behind. 

It was then ascertained that Le Roy had been seen in 
Union Square with two ex-convicts named Jas. Dollar and 
Thomas McDonald and it was furthermore learned that Dollar 
went with Le Roy to a second-hand store on Fourth near 
Market street and purchased a mattress and blankets. But it 
was not clear what use these persons would make of them or 
where they would be taken. 

San Francisco Cases 73 

Feeling confident that a murder had been committed, De- 
tective Hogan requested Mr. Chichester, a handy-man in 
Skerritt's employ, to accompany him to the different vacant 
buildings owned by the missing man. 

The first place they went to was 1129 Ellis street, and 
upon opening the door both men were sickened by the odor of 
decomposed flesh which confronted them. They found Sker- 
ritt's body, black, swollen and decomposed, in a sitting posi- 
tion against the wall in a closet, with a blanket thrown over it. 

When Le Roy was arrested he had several keys in his 
possession, all of which were accounted for, except a key for 
a Yale lock. He roomed at a lodging-house conducted by a 
Mr. Perkins at California and Powell streets, and underneath 
the mattress several of Skerritt's papers were found, but, as 
other articles were still missing which Le Roy took from 
Skerritt's home, it was decided that the suspect must have 
another room and that the mysterious key for the Yale lock 
was the pass-key to the house where that room was located. 
A great number of duplicates were made and officers were 
looking all over the city for a lock to fit this key, when one 
evening Captain Lees asked Detective Hogan to accompany 
him to the Grand Hotel. After remaining there a short 
time they left, but when they had crossed Market street. Lees 
excused himself for a few moments and returned to the hotel. 

Having nothing to do in the meantime, Hogan got out his 
duplicate key, and he can attribute his movements immediately 
afterward to nothing except his intuitive powers, for he went 
to the door of a lodging-house a few feet away, No. 620 
Market street, and there found that his key opened the lock of 
the street door. When Lees returned, Hogan reported his 
discovery, but owing to the late hour they decided to investigate 
further on the following morning. When they returned they 
located Le Roy's room, and in it they found the remainder of 
the property stolen from Skerritt's room, which Le Roy denied 
having taken. They also found twelve large cans of chlorid 
of lime, in which he probably intended to consume Skerritt's 
body at the first opportunity. 

It will be recalled that Le Roy purchased a mattress and 

74 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

blankets on Fourth street and in addition to that he purchased 
carpets at another place. 

A lady living next door to 1129 Ellis street identified Le 
Roy as the man who called on her shortly after Skerritt dis- 
appeared and inquired if she had seen a wagon call with any 
furniture for the next flat. 

When the officers arrived at 1129 Ellis street, they found 
the articles purchased on Fourth street, and afterward Dollar 
and McDonald testified that they assisted in bringing them 
there for Le Roy. This house was one of the buildings for 
which Le Roy filed a forged deed with the Recorder. 

On August 27, 1883, the Coroner's jury returned a verdict, 
in which they found that Skerritt was strangled to death by Le 

He was tried in Judge Ferral's court and convicted of 
murder in the first degree. He endeavored to persuade Gov- 
ernor Stoneman to interfere but failed, and on January 18, 
1885, he was hanged by Sheriff Hopkins. 


J. Milton Bowers was born in Baltin\ore, Maryland, in 
1843 and at the age of sixteen he went to Berlin to study 
medicine, but not as a matriculated student. 

In 1863, he returned to America and served in the Civil 
War. In 1865 he settled in Chicago, where he married Miss 
Fannie Hammet, who died very mysteriously in 1873. 

Shortly after her death. Bowers proceeded to Brooklyn, 
N. Y., where he married Thresa Shirk, a remarkably clever 
and beautiful actress who had been his patient in Chicago. 
As Bowers was in poor health, the couple came to San Fran- 
cisco by steamer, arriving in July, 1874. 

San Francisco Cases 


On January 29, 1881, Thresa Shirk Bowers died at the 
Palace Hotel and there were many circumstances in connec- 
tion with her death which were never satisfactorily explained. 

In 1852 a wedding between J. Benhayon and a widow 
was celebrated in Germany. The widow had a little baby girl 
named Cecelia. In 1854 a boy was born and was named 
Henry Benhayon. The family then came to San Francisco and 
after several unsuccessful business ventures, Benhayon finally 
became a traveling salesman. 

Cecelia married a man named Sylvian Levy, and a little 
daughter was born and named Tillie. Shortly afterward Levy 
procured a divorce from his wife, who bore an unenviable 

On July 19, 1881, less than six months after his second 
wife died, Bowers married Cecelia Benhayon Levy. In pub- 
lic Bowers was most assiduous in his attentions to each of his 
wives, but in his home life it was claimed that he was brutal. 
Knowing his reputation in this respect, Mrs. Benhayon was 
bitterly opposed to the marriage, and it resulted in an 
estrangement between the bride and her relatives, which con- 
tinued until a few months previous to Mrs. Bowers' death. 

In July, 1885, Mrs. Bowers' face and body began to swell 
until she assumed such an extraordinary aspect that her own 
mother hardly recognized her, and she suffered excruciating 
pains, especially during frequent convulsions. 

Mrs. Bowers took out life insurance policies in favor of 
her husband amounting to $17,000, among which was a 
policy for $5,000 from the American Legion of Honor. 
On October 28, 1885, a stranger entered the office of this 
order and inquired of Grand Secretary Burton if he could 
inspect the membership list of the various local councils of 
the order. Upon being informed that such a list could not 
be procured, he stated, after much hesitation, that a woman 
was sick who was a member of the order; that foul play 
was going on and that she would die in a few days. He 
then departed without disclosing his identity. 

On November 2 another mysterious man hastily entered 
the Coroner's office and announced that Mrs. Dr. J. Milton 

76 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Bowers had just died at the "Arcade House," 930 Market 
street, and that there were suspicious circumstances surround- 
ing her death, which should be officially investigated. After 
imparting this information he vanished as though the earth 
had swallowed him. 

The Coroner, Dr. C. C. O'Donnell, proceeded at once to 
the place and found Mrs. Bowers' body in the same room 
with Dr. Bowers. He informed Bowers of the rumors afloat 
and the latter, with characteristic coolness, stated that the 
funeral would take place on the following afternoon, and that 
if an investigation was decided upon it should be made im- 
mediately so as not to interfere with the services. As Bow- 
ers claimed his wife died from abscess of the liver, six physi- 
cians performed an autopsy, and they decided that she had 
not died from that ailment. Other physicians made an ex- 
amination, some of whom stated that some of the symptoms 
and conditions usually present in cases of phosphorus poison- 
ing, were present in this case. 

The dead woman's stomach was removed and traces of 
phosphorus were found by Dr. W. D. Johnson, professor of 
chemistry at Cooper Medical College. It was said that Bow- 
ers received this poison in the form of samples from manu- 
facturing chemists, but all these samples, which Bowers ad- 
mitted having received, disappeared mysteriously from his 
office shortly after the investigation began. 

Mrs. Benhayon, the mother of the dead woman, stated 
that when she first visited her daughter after their estrange- 
ment, it was apparent that she could not live, and she ex- 
pressed this opinion to Dr. Bowers, who informed her that 
Cecelia was recovering and he added that he had so much con- 
fidence in his judgment that he had made preliminary arrange- 
ments to take her on a nice trip to the country. As the days 
passed by, Mrs. Benhayon lost faith in Bowers' ability as a 
physician and she stated that it was only after repeated solici- 
tations that he consented to call in Dr. W. H. Bruner. 

After a month's experience, Mrs. Bowers' relatives lost 
faith in Bruner and Dr. Martin of Oakland was substituted. 
After Martin was called in the only noticeable change in the 

San Francisco Cases 77 

patient was in her complexion, which assumed a beautiful and 
clear appearance. As her sufferings seemed to increase rather 
than diminish, it was suspected that arsenic had been admin- 
istered. Mrs. Benhayon furthermore said : 

"On the Sunday before Ceceha died, her aunt and cousin 
called at Mrs. Bowers' request. I admitted them into the 
sick chamber, unknown to the doctor, but he rushed in and 
excitedly exclaimed : 'You must get out of here ; I allow no 
one to see my wife,' and he almost forcibly put them out. Al- 
though Bowers has $17,000 insurance on his wife's life, he 
has refused to have any policy made out in favor of her 
daughter by her first husband, and when medicines were 
brought to the house, he usually examined them privately and 
then administered them himself." 

Drs. Bruner and Martin, who treated Mrs. Bowers, stated 
that from what Dr. Bowers had told them of the history of 
the case, and from their own observations, they also believed 
that she was suffering from abscess of the liver and treated 
her accordingly. 

On November 12, 1885, the coroner's jury found that Mrs. 
Bowers came to her death by phosphorus poisoning, and Bow- 
ers was at once taken into custody by Detective Robert Hogan, 
and charged with the murder of his wife. 

On March 8, 1886, Bowers' trial began before Judge 
Murphy of the Superior Court. Eugene Duprey, who after- 
wards defended Durrant, acted as special prosecutor. In his 
opening statement to the jury he stated that he expected to 
prove that Mrs. Zeissing, who nursed Mrs. Bowers, had shown 
unmistakable indications of being in collusion with the pris- 
oner, and he accused Theresa Farrell, Bowers' housekeeper, 
who afterward married John Dimmig, of attempting to shield 
Bowers. He claimed that before the death of his wife, Bow- 
ers had made arrangements to marry a woman from San Jose, 
and that she had already prepared her trousseau. He fur- 
thermore stated that Bowers had courted his last wife before 
the death of the second one. 

Bowers' record in Chicago had been obtained from the 
Chief of Police of that city, and the prosecuting attorney 

yS Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

asked permission to read it to the jury, but an objection from 
Bowers' attorney was, of course, sustained. The defendant 
was also charged with being a professional abortionist. 

The case was finally submitted to the jury at 4:15 p. m., 
April 23, 1886, and at 9 p. m. the jury returned a verdict of 
guilty of murder in the first degree. 

On June 2, 1886, Bowers was sentenced to be hanged, 
but the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. This Court 
was not entirely satisfied with the sufficiency of the evidence 
against Bowers and handed down a decision ordering a new 
trial. Shortly before this decision was handed down the most 
remarkable feature of the case occurred. 

The Mysterious Death of Henry Benhayon. 

Henry Benhayon, Mrs. Bowers' half brother, was ap- 
prenticed to a stone cutter in Sacramento when he was about 
fifteen years of age, and although he became an expert at an 
early age, he tired of the work and accompanied his family 
to San Francisco. He then became "stage struck" and took 
lessons in elocution. He recited at lodge meetings and ama- 
teur entertainments and showed a predilection for the power- 
ful, villain type of recitation. He once appeared in "Richard 
HI," but realizing that he was an utter failure, he made no 
further attempts in that direction. After this he sought no 
permanent employment, but lived oflF of Mrs. Bowers and his 
mother a great deal of the time. 

On Sunday, October 23, 1887, the Coroner was notified 
that the body of a dead man had been found in room 21 of a 
lodging-house located at 22 Geary street. The officials pro- 
ceeded at once to the place and the landlady, Mrs. Higgson, 
conducted them to the room and on the bed the body of a 
young man apparently about 27 years old was found. He 
was laid out as though prepared for a coffin, and the bed 
clothing was in no manner disturbed. The landlady said that 
she had never seen the man before. 

Shortly afterward the remains were identified as those of 
Henry Benhayon, the brother of the late Mrs. Bowers. Three 
bottles were found in the room, one containing whisky, one 


San Francisco Cases 79 

chloroform liniment and a third cyanide of potassium with 
the label removed; all bottles being corked. 

Three letters were also found in the room, one being ad- 
dressed to the San Francisco Chronicle, which read as follows : 

"To the Editor of the Chronicle : 

"Sir: Enclosed find $1.00 to pay for this advertisement 
and the balance as a reward. I will call in a few days. 
"Yours truly, 

"Oct. 21, 1887. Henry Benhayon." 

The advertisement read as follows : 

"Lost, Oct. 20th, near the City Hall, a memorandum 
book with a letter. A liberal reward will be paid if left at 
this office." 

The second letter was addressed to Dr. Bowers, who was 
still confined in the County Jail awaiting the decision of the 
Supreme Court on his appeal for a new trial. It read as 
follows : 

"City, Oct. 22, 1887. 
"Dr. J. Milton Bowers : 

"I only ask that you do not molest my mother. Tillie 
is not responsible for my acts and I have made all reparation 
in my power. 

"I likewise caution you against some of your friends, who 
knew Cecelia only as a husband should. 

"Among them are C. M. McLennan and others whose 
names I cannot think of now, but you will find some more 
when the memorandum book is found. Farewell. 


"H. Benhayon." 

The third letter, addressed to the Coroner and headed 
"Confession," created a sensation. It read as follows: 

"The history of the tragedy commenced after my -sister 
married Dr. Bowers. 

"I had reasons to believe that he would leave her soon, 
as they always quarreled, and on one occasion she told me 
that she would poison him before she would permit him to 
leave her, 

"I said in jest, 'Have him insured.' 

"She said 'alright,' but Bowers objected for a long time, 

8o Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

but finally said: *If it will keep you out of mischief, alright, 
go ahead.' 

"They both joined several lodges and I got the stuff ready 
to dispose of him, but my sister would not listen to the prop- 
osition and threatened to expose me. 

"After my sister got sick I felt an irresistible impulse 
to use the stuff on her and finish him afterward. I would 
then become administrator for my little niece, Tillie, and would 
then have the benefit of the insurance. 

"I think it was on Friday, November 24, 1885, that I 
took one capsule out of her pill-box and filled it with two 
kinds of poison. I didn't think Bowers could get into any 
trouble as the person who gave me the poison told me it would 
leave no trace in the stomach. This person committed sui- 
cide before the trial, and as it might implicate others if I 
mention his name I will close the tragedy. 

"H. Benhayon. 

"P. S. I took Dr. Bowers' money out of his desk when 
my sister died." 

Handwriting experts were at once put to work on the 
letters and they were divided in opinion as to whether they 
were genuine or forgeries. 

Mrs. Higgson stated that on October 18 a young man 
called at her house and signified his desire to rent room 21, 
in which Benhayon's body was found, but the landlady stated 
that the room was occupied, and although she offered him 
other rooms, he desired only this particular one. 

On the following day another man called and asked for 
the same room, but Mrs. Higgson informed him that while 
it was at that time occupied it would be vacated Saturday. 
He would not look at any other room, but offered to pay a 
deposit of $5 on that room with the understanding that he 
could occupy it Saturday. She accepted the money and gave 
him a key. On Sunday she entered the room with the pass 
key and found Benhayon's body. 

An autopsy showed that his death was caused by being 
poisoned with cyanide of potassium. 

The identity of the person who engaged the room was 
never learned, but the man who called on the 18th inst. was 
positively identified as John Dimmig, who married Bowers' 
housekeeper, Theresa Farrell, who was accused by the prose- 

San Francisco Cases 8i 

cntion in the Bowers case with committing perjury in the de- 
fendant's behalf. 

Mrs. Dimmig, accompanied by Mrs. Zeissing, Mrs. Bow- 
ers' former nurse, frequently visited Bowers at the County Jail. 

Dimmig was born in Ohio, where he learned the drug 
business, but later he moved to Texas and worked as a cattle 
herder. Later he came to San Francisco and obtained employ- 
ment at a drug store at Eleventh and Mission streets, but 
finally became a book agent. 

When Captain of Detectives Lees and Detective Robert 
Hogan asked Dimmig if he had made inquiry for room 21 at 
22 Geary street, he admitted that he had, although he had a 
home on Minna street. When asked why he tried to engage 
the room he replied: "Well, it was a stall. I was trying to 
sell books." . But when Captain Lees told him that he did 
not believe his story, Dimmig said that he wanted the room 
for the purpose of meeting a woman from San Jose there. 
He stated that he only knew the woman by the name of "Tim- 
kins," and that she wrote to him asking that he engage a 
room for Saturday night, but he added that he had destroyed 
the letter. He denied delegating any one to procure the room 
for him and did not explain why he wanted that particular 
room. He stated that he was under the influence of liquor on 
the night following the day he attempted to procure this room, 
and that he probably met Benhayon and incidentally men- 
tioned the room. 

Dimmig stated that he did not meet the "Timkins" woman 
at any place on Saturday evening, and claimed that he could 
not understand how Benhayon gained admission to the room 
which he, Dimmig, was so anxious to rent, 

Dimmig then handed Captain Lees a letter which was 
addressed to him (Dimmig) at The Western Perfumery Co., 
26 Second street, and which read as follows: 

"City, Oct. 22, 1887. 
"J. A. Dimmig, 

"Sir: — Call on me at once. I am in a devilish fix. I 
don't want your money but your advice. I think it is all up 
with me. You will find me at Room 21, No. 22 Geary street. 

"Henry Benhayon." 

82 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Notwithstanding the remarkable coincidence that this 
letter indicated that Benhayon was occupying the same room 
Dimmig inquired for, the latter stated that he paid no atten- 
tion to it and when it was submitted to the handwriting ex- 
perts they disagreed as to its genuineness. 

Although Dimmig was not in the habit of having his mail 
sent to the Western Perfumery Company, he called at this 
establishment shortly after this letter arrived to learn if there 
was any mail there for him. 

Captain Lees stated that Dimmig had obtained twenty- 
five grains of cyanide of potassium at the drug store of Dr. 
Lacy and tried to procure it at several other drug stores but 

Detective Hogan stated that when first questioned on the 
subject, Dimmig denied having purchased any of this poison. 

Another singular coincidence in connection with the loca- 
tion of the room where Benhayon's body was found, was that 
Mrs. Zeissing roomed at Morton and Grant avenue, and the 
back entrance to the scene of the tragedy was only a few feet 
away. The Benhayons stated that there was an intense hatred 
between her and the dead man. 

Louis Goldburg stated that some weeks previous he met 
Benhayon and accompanied him to a room at 873<y2 Market 
street, where Benhayon stated he was doing some writing for 
a book agent. As Benhayon was a slow and poor writer it 
seemed singular that he should be employed in that line of 
work, unless it might be for the purpose of obtaining speci- 
mens of his handwriting. Dimmig admitted having a room 
on Market street but he stated that he forgot the number. 

On the Saturday afternoon preceding his death, Benhayon 
made arrangements to visit a dentist on the following Monday, 
and he had also purchased tickets to take his little niece, Tillie, 
to the theater on Sunday night. 

No one was produced who could show that Benhayon 
had even attempted to purchase any deadly poison. Assuming 
that he did commit suicide his reason for so doing was never 
made clear. 

If the alleged confession was genuine, his voluntary state- 


San Francisco Cases 83 

ment regarding Mrs. Bowers' character would indicate that 
it was not done through a desire to expiate that crime, and 
in speaking confidentially to friends shortly before his death, 
Benhayon expressed a firm belief in Bowers' guilt and also 
expressed the greatest hatred for him. 

It was not apparent that he had any reason to believe 
that his guilt would be discovered, nor is it probable that the 
lost memorandum book contained anything of an incrimina- 
ting nature when he contemplated offering such a trivial re- 
ward for its return. 

Benhayon was last seen alive at 11 p. m. on Saturday night 
when he appeared to be in an intoxicated or drugged condi- 
tion. He was accompanied by a man and woman, yet these 
two persons never appeared to explain where or under what 
circumstances they left him. 

Four witnesses testified that on the Friday evening pre- 
ceding the death of Benhayon, Dimmig entered Dewing's Bush 
street book store to purchase some books for Mrs. Zeissing, 
and that he then had a flask of whisky similar to that found ' 
by Benhayon's body. 

On November 12 Captain Lees charged Dimmig with the 
murder of Benhayon. The defendant made repeated efforts 
to be released on a writ of habeas corpus, but failed. 

During this trial a prosecution was begun for criminal 
libel against Loring Pickering, of the San Francisco Call, be- 
cause of an editorial published on November 13 in regard to 
Dimmig's wife. 

On December 10 Judge Hornblower held Dimmig to an- 
swer before the Superior Court. In doing so, Hornblower 
attached considerable importance to the fact that the testi- 
mony showed that Dimmig called at the Western Perfumery 
Company to learn if any message had been left for him, and 
upon being handed the letter with a special delivery stamp 
on it, which was alleged to have been sent by Benhayon, he 
took no further action, although he carefully preserved it, 
contrary to his usual custom, but did not notify the police of 
having received it until they called to interrogate him regard- 

84 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ing his efforts to procure the room in which Benhayon's body 
was found. 

On February 20, 1888, Dimmig's trial in the Superior 
Court began before Judge Murphy, and on March 14 the jury 
disagreed after deliberating sixteen hours. 

His second trial began before the same judge on December 
10, 1888. and after deliberating twenty-three hours the jury 
acquitted him. 

As some of the handwriting experts swore that the Ben- 
hayon "confession" was genuine, so far as the handwriting 
was concerned, the District Attorney, believing that it would 
be impossible to convict Bowers again, consented to his dis- 
charge. He resumed his practice in San Francisco and shortly 
afterward married Miss Bird of San Jose. They apparently 
lived happily together until his death in 1905. 


During the year of 1886 Alexander Goldenson, a nine- 
teen-year-old youth, lived with his folks at 24^ Hayes street. 
In the adjoining house lived a thirteen-year-old girl named 
Mamie Kelly, who attended the John Swett Grammar 
School. She had a childish infatuation for Goldenson, which 
she concealed from her mother. About November 9, 1886, 
the girl wrote a note to Goldenson in which she complained 
of his indifference toward her.* 

On November 11, 1886, Goldenson waited at Ash ave- 
nue and Polk street, which place the girl usually passed on 
her way home from school. On this day she was accom- 
panied by a classmate who continued on her way when Ma- 
mie Kelly stopped to talk to Goldenson. They conversed 
for a few moments when Goldenson whipped out a revolver 
and shot her over the right eye. She immediately sank to 
the ground and expired. 

*This note was found in his pocket when arrested. 

San Francisco Cases 85 

He then ran to the police station in the New City Hall 
at McAllister and Larkin streets and surrendered, throwing 
his pistol into the grass plat as he passed into the building. 
He was immediately transferred to the city prison in the 
old hall at Kearny and Washington streets, but the news of 
his atrocious crime spread through the city like wildfire 
and the feeling toward the murderer became so bitter that 
it was deemed advisable to secretly transfer him to the Broad- 
way jail, which was more secure. Early in the evening a 
mob began to assemble in front of the Broadway jail and 
people were coming from all directions. 

Cries of "lynch him" were frequent. By 9 p. m. a crowd 
of several thousand people had gathered and they were be- 
coming more desperate every minute. 

Chief Crowley and Captain Douglass had sent in a riot 
call and every available policeman in the city was present. 
Finally a man on a balcony threw a brick at an officer. The 
officer made a rush for the balcony, got hold of the post which 
was supporting the part of the balcony where he was perched, 
and pulled the post away, which caused him to drop to the 
ground with the balcony. After a little rough usage he was 
taken into custody and then a general charge on the mob with 
clubs was ordered. The officers went at them like tigers and 
in five minutes policemen were very much in the majority 
in that neighborhood, and those of the mob who remained 
were in the custody of officers en route to the Receiving Hos- 

Goldenson was immediately indicted by the Grand Jury 
and on April 14, 1887, was sentenced to be hanged. The 
case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the 
decision of the lower Court, and on September 14, 1888, he 
was executed. 

86 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


About 1 o'clock Sunday morning, August 17, 1890, Samuel 
Jacobson, of the trunk dealers' firm of Steele & Jacobson, lo- 
cated at No, 222 Bush street, staggered into his home at No. 
2300 California street, where he resided with his parents and 
sisters, and stated that he had just been shot in the abdomen. 

He said that as he alighted from a westbound California- 
street car at Webster street, a few steps from his home, two 
men approached him, and that the smaller of the pair, who 
wore a mask, pressed a pistol against his body and commanded 
him to throw up his hands. He stated that he grappled with 
this man, who shot him, and then both of the robbers fled 
down Webster street. 

A Chinatown guide named John Shaw said that he was 
in the immediate vicinity when the shot was fired, but that he 
saw no one on the street. 

In addition to this statement, the conductor on the west- 
bound car, which passed at the time, stated that the only pas- 
senger to leave his car at Webster street was a Chinaman. 

This caused many to suspect that Jacobson was equivoca- 
ting, and it was rumored that a big scandal would be unearthed 
if the true facts were known. It was even hinted that the 
reason that Shaw saw no one on the street was because the 
shooting occurred in Jacobson's own home. On August 18 he 
died, and when the autopsy was performed a 32-calibre bullet 
was found near his heart. 

At the time of the shooting Jacobson was keeping company 
with a milliner named Miss Courtney, and it was said that they 
would have been married had it not been that they disagreed 
regarding religion. This circumstance caused another rumor to 
be circulated that Jacobson had been murdered by some rival 
for the young lady's hand. 

At this time two footpads were operating in this city, and 

San Francisco Cases 87 

as they usually wore masks, the only description given was that 
one was tall and that the other was short. 

A few weeks after the death of Jacobson, a tall young man 
named Edward Campbell, who was employed as a solicitor for 
the Singer Sewing Machine Company, became particularly 
friendly toward Detectives Hogan and Silvey, who were de- 
tailed to apprehend the two footpads. He was "too sweet to be 
wholesome" and it was suspected that he aimed to creep into 
favor with the detectives because he feared that he would need 
their friendship at some future date. 

Upon investigation, it was found that under the name of 
Harry Weston he was arrested by Sheriff Cunningham, of 
Stockton, Cal., for horse stealing in 1885 and was sentenced to 
seven years' imprisonment, but was pardoned in 1888. 

To prove that he could be of service, Campbell informed 
these officers that a thief named Charles Schmidt had shipped 
a number of stolen articles from San Jose to San Francisco. A 
watch was set and when Schmidt called for the property he was 
detained and it was found that some of the articles had been 
stolen from citizens in San Francisco, by the "tall man and the 
short man." 

Schmidt, who was very tall, then confessed that he had 
been implicated with a short man named Sydney Bell in seven 

Shortly after Schmidt's capture, Campbell put a very sig- 
nificant hypothetical question to Detective Hogan. He asked : 
"li A. and B. started out to commit a robbery, but after 
starting B. refused to participate in any crime and insisted on 
going home, and then, without warning of his intentions, A. 
suddenly whips out a revolver and holds up a citizen who of- 
fered resistance and is killed by A., would B. be guilty of any 
offense ?" 

Hogan gave an evasive answer, but it was then understood 
why Campbell sought the friendship of the police. 

After this conversation, Campbell was kept under constant 
surveillance, as it was expected that he would be seen talking 

88 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

to the short man who murdered Jacobson, Campbell being al- 
most as tall as Schmidt. 

As they did not meet, Captain Lees finally told Campbell 
that he was positive that he (Campbell) knew the facts re- 
garding the Jacobson murder. 

As evidence had already been obtained showing that he 
was the other tall man who operated with the short man, he, 
Campbell, stated that he was willing to confess if granted im- 
munity. This being satisfactorily arranged, Campbell made 
the following confession : 

"In May, 1890, 1 was sent out with Sydney Bell to canvass 
for the Singer sewing machine. 

"We became confidential and Bell suggested that I assist 
him in robbing belated pedestrians. After some hesitancy I 
consented and we executed several 'jobs' successfully. 

"On the night of August 17, I met Bell at my home, 235 
Clara street, and we traveled out through the Western Addi- 
tion. Bell showed me a 32-calibre revolver and a policeman's 
club loaded with lead. 

"Throughout the entire evening I protested against rob- 
bing any one and Bell became provoked at me. We arrived at 
Webster and California streets after midnight and I told him 
that I intended to take the next eastbound California-street 
car and go home. 

"Before it arrived a westbound car passed and a man 
whom I have since learned was Samuel Jacobson, alighted, 
and, without consulting me, Bell went up to him and com- 
manded him to throw up his hands. 

"Jacobson grabbed Bell, who fired a shot, and then Bell 
and I ran along Webster street and started for town. When 
we separated Bell said that he would get someone that night. 

"He came to my house the next night and stated that he 
had robbed a fellow of $240 after we parted that morning." 

In addition to the crime just related, Campbell admitted 
that he assisted Bell in a great number of robberies, but that 
Bell frequently operated alone. 

It was then ascertained that Bell resided on Stockton 


San Francisco Cases 89 

street, near Bush, but as he had an appointment to call on 
Campbell, whose home was on Prospect place, it was decided 
to allow Campbell to go to his home, closely followed by 

Campbell was anxious that the arrest should not occur in 
his house, so it was arranged that he and Bell should leave 
the house together and the arrest was made on the street. 

When taken into custody Bell had the loaded club and 
32-calibre pistol described by Campbell, in his possession. He 
would not admit that he had participated in the Jacobson 
murder, but he confessed to sixty-five robberies. 

Three of his victims, Edward Crome, J. H. Curley, the 
tailor, and Peter Robertson, the well-known newspaper man, 
positively identified Bell and he chatted with them in regard 
to the details of the crimes. 

He told Robertson that he was one of the most belliger- 
ent persons he had ever dealt with, and when Curley informed 
him that he (Curley) wore a magnificent diamond ring on the 
night he was robbed, Bell stated that if he had known that 
at the time, he would have bitten Curley's finger ofif. 

Schmidt was Bell's companion during these three rob- 

When a visit was made to Bell's room, a little sixteen- 
year-old girl was found there who posed as his wife, but 
who afterward admitted that she ran away from her home in 
the East, where her parents had surrounded her with every 
comfort, and that her meeting with Bell in San Francisco 
was purely accidental. She was sent home, and as her parents 
were prominent people her name was never made public. 

On January 19, 1891, Bell's preliminary examination for 
the murder of Jacobson began before Judge Rix. He was 
held to answer on that charge and was subsequently held to 
answer for the three robberies already referred to. 

On April 22 the trial for murder began in the Superior 
Court and on May 7 he was found guilty of murder in the 
first degree. 

This case was appealed to the Supreme Court and a new 
trial was granted, but as the evidence in the robbery cases 

90 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

was so strong that Bell saw that it would be useless to fight 
the charges, it was decided to abandon the murder case and 
proceed with three robbery charges. He pleaded guilty to 
each charge on September 15. 

On September 17 he was sentenced to serve forty years 
for robbing Edward Crone, ten years for robbing Peter Rob- 
ertson and ten years for robbing J. H. Curley. 

Schmidt was found guilty of the robberies in which he 
assisted Sydney Bell, and was sentenced to serve a term in 
San Quentin Prison. He stated that he would never have 
committed a crime had he not been swindled out of all of his 
earthly possessions, and he added that notwithstanding the 
fact that he had been convicted and sentenced, he had a 
presentiment that he would never go to a State Prison. 

He fully realized his disgrace, and on the day that he 
was being taken to San Quentin, it was evident that he was 
laboring under an intense but suppressed excitement. 

As he reached the prison gate he placed his hand to his 
mouth and then turned deathly pale and staggered and fell 
dead in the arms of the deputy sheriff. An autopsy showed 
that he died from cynide of potassium poisoning. 

Campbell was given his freedom in recognition of the 
service he had rendered to the prosecution, but he never 
amounted to anything afterward, being frequently arrested for 
vagrancy. Bell was paroled in May, 1909. 

San Francisco Cases 91 


On September 12, 1893, some Italian fishermen found a 
head encased in a wire netting, floating- in the bay and fas- 
tened with a rope to the shore near Lime Point. 

The ears and all the flesh from the face had disappeared, 
but a few hairs from the head were found in the netting, and 
judging from their length it was decided that it was the head 
of a woman. 

A few days afterward, a boy named Stephenson discovered 
the trunk of a woman's body floating in the bay near Oakland. 

Two different theories were advanced, both of which found 
ready supporters. 

One was that a foul murder had been committed, but this 
was laughed at by those who theorized that the remains were 
those of some unfortunate whose body had found its way to 
the dissecting-room and was afterward placed in the bay by 
students in an effort to create a sensation. 

As the body was badly decomposed it was impossible to 
ascertain from its appearance which theory was correct. 

In August, 1893, Miss Addie Gilmour, who with Miss 
Laura Allen, conducted a millinery store in the Httle town of 
Colusa, Cal., came to San Francisco to purchase a supply of 
goods for the fall trade, but in order to acquire a knowledge 
of the latest styles, she procured employment with F. Toplitz, 
a Market street milliner. She resided at the Elmer House, 
314 Bush street. 

About the first of September, her partner came to the city, 
but on hearing that Miss Gilmour had left her temporary resi- 
dence and place of employment without any previous notice, 
Miss Allen returned at once to Colusa. On learning that Miss 
Gilmour was not at home she became thoroughly alarmed. 

As Miss Gilmour was a quiet, industrious young lady, 
whose mind seemed to be entirely absorbed in her business 
affairs, the mystery became greater until at last her twin 
sister reluctantly came forward and stated that Addie had 

92 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

written to her on September 4 that she was in trouble and about 
to submit to an operation at the hands of Dr. Eugene West, 
who was located at 132 Turk street. J 

It was then ascertained that she had moved to this address 
on September 1. 

Miss Allen and Miss Gilmour's brother-in-law, W. K. 
de Jarnett, proceeded to San Francisco and demanded of West 
information as to Miss Gilmour's whereabouts. They were 
joined shortly afterward by the parents of the missing girl. 

According to the statements of the parents, West admitted 
that he had performed an operation on Miss Gilmour on Sep- 
tember 4, and that she died on the 9th inst. He stated that he 
gave the body to medical students. 

The family dreaded the publicity of a prosecution, but 
finally made known the facts to the police. 

Detective Chas. Cody was sent to arrest West, but he had 
suddenly left his home, and after some difficulty was located 
at the home of W. Voorhies at 525 Turk street. 

West had an unenviable reputation among reputable phy- 
sicians, who spoke in most disparaging terms of him. Upon 
being taken to police headquarters he was accused of having 
been responsible for Miss Gilmour's death, but he denied the 

Working on the theory that the skull and portion of a 
body found in the bay were a part of the remains of Addie 
Gilmour, Richard Stewart, a dentist from Chico, examined the 
teeth and positively identined some gold fillings as work that 
he had done for Miss Gilmour on February 9 of the same 
year. Shortly after this a thigh and portion of a woman's 
breast were found which had been cut from that portion of 
the body previously recovered. 

After that, small portions of the body were found in dif- 
ferent parts of the bay. 

On September 26, two Oakland boys saw a coal oil can 
floating in Oakland creek, which they brought ashore, and it 
was found to contain two arms and hands, and a foot. It 

San Francisco Cases 93 

also contained a lady's purse, hat pins and hair combs, which 
were identified as the property of Miss Gilmour. 

A Miss Annie Staley, who was in the employ of Dr. 
Eugene West, was suspected by the police of knowing con- 
siderable that would be very damaging to the prisoner if 
told, but she remained loyal to him, and on September 28 
a contract marriage was entered into between her and West, 
which prevented the prosecution from putting her on the 
witness stand and also enabled her to visit West in the prison. 

Miss Gilmour confided her troubles to a young medical 
student named D. B. Plymire, who was studying in the office 
of Dr. Harvey at 1126 Market street. The only male ac- 
quaintance to whom Miss Gilmour appeared to give more 
than a passing thought was a young man known as "J^^k." 
She did all in her power to conceal his identity and as Ply- 
mire visited her on one occasion when she probably realized 
that she was about to die, she handed him a letter which she 
was too weak to tear up, and requested him to do so. He 
immediately complied with the request, but seeing no suita- 
ble place to throw the pieces, he placed them in his pocket. 

After leaving her he realized that in case the unfortu- 
nate young woman should die, he might appear in a peculiar 
light, as he was her only visitor. He thought of the torn 
letter in his pocket, and with the instinct of self-preservation, 
he arranged the fragments in their proper order and pasted 
them on a paper. It was then learned that "J^ck" was J. C. 
McGrury, who flirted with Miss Gilmour in June, 1892, while 
he was a railroad brakeman. After that they became friendly 
and finally she stayed all of one night in his room on Kearny 

Mrs. Lee Austin, who was employed in the millinery store 
where Miss Gilmour was last employed, called on Dr. West 
as soon as she learned the contents of the note Miss Gilmour 
sent to her twin sister, Emma. She there met a young lady 
named Miss May Howard, who resided at 815 Clay street, 
Oakland. This lady informed Mrs. Austin that she had met 
Miss Gilmour three times ; that two of the meetings took place 
in West's office and the third on an Oakland ferry boat. 

94 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

She stated that on the occasion of the meeting on the ferry 
boat, Miss Gilmour appeared to be despondent and hinted 
that she intended to drown herself. She also said that Miss 
Gilmour entered the ladies' retiring room, but as she did not 
cc«ne out for a considerable length of time, she, Miss How- 
ard, went into the room and found it vacant and the window 
open, causing her to believe that Miss Gilmour had jumped 
into the bay. 

Afterward Miss Howard testified that her statement in 
regard to meeting Miss Gilmour on the boat was false, but 
that she did see her twice at West's office. She claimed that 
West persuaded her to make this statement. 

It was the theory of the prosecution that West intended 
to convey the impression that Miss Gilmour had committed 
suicide, believing that it would be impossible to identify the 
skull found in the bay. 

West was held to answer, and on February 5, 1894, his 
trial began in the Superior Court, Judge Wallace presiding. 
On February 16 he was found guilty of murder in the second 
degree. On February 23 West was sentenced to twenty-five 
years' imprisonment. 

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court an^ a new 
trial was granted to the defendant. 

In December, 1895, the second trial began. The evi- 
dence for the prosecution was substantially the same as at 
the previous trial, but in the second trial West testified that 
Dr. W. A. Harvey had turned Miss Gilmour over to him 
and that she was at that time suffering from the effects of 
malpractice and died on the following morning, but he did 
not testify that Harvey had performed the operation. 

He furthermore claimed that he turned the body over 
to Dr. Tuchler, who, he stated, intended to use it in the inter- 
est of science. He added that Tuchler had subsequently 'ad- 
mitted to him that the head found at Lime Point was the 
head of Miss Gilmour and that he (Tuchler) had placed it 
there for the purpose of cleansing it. 

West also testified that the reason he had previously 
made conflicting statements regarding the case and failed to 

San Francisco Cases 95 

testify during the first trial regarding Tuchler and Harvey, 
was because they were his friends and he desired to protect 

Dr. Harvey followed West in rebuttal, and testified that 
there was not one word of truth in West's testimony regard- 
ing him. 

After the arguments, the case was submitted to the jury 
and after deliberating for one hour a verdict of not guilty was 


On December 22, 1892, the bark Hesper, carrying a 
valuable cargo, sailed from Newcastle, N. S. W., for this port. 
On January 13, 1893, Second Mate Maurice Fitzgerald took 
command of the midnight watch, which consisted of three 
sailors, named Thomas St. Clair, Herman Sparf and Hans 
Hansen. It was a black, wild night, the seas were running 
high and the wind howled through the rigging. But above this 
noise, the captain's wife heard a shriek; the dog on the deck 
began to bark, and then all was silent. The sullen conduct of 
the sailors above mentioned had already aroused suspicion, and 
it was at once decided that something was amiss. 

The officers of the ship armed themselves and went aft 
with lanterns, A search was made for Mate Fitzgerald, but, 
instead of finding him, a considerable amount of blood was 
found on the deck near the ship's side. An attempt had been 
made to wash it away, but the job was poorly done because of 
the blackness of the night. A hatchet was then found, upon 
which was blood and some of Fitzgerald's hair. 

The three sailors were then overpowered, placed in irons 
and brought to San Francisco. Sparf confessed that, when at 
sea a few days, Hansen, St. Clair and himself entered into a 
conspiracy to kill the officers, seize the ship and dispose of the 
cargo in Chile. He then made the following statement: 

96 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

"On the night in question, we inveigled Fitzgerald to the 
side of the ship and then split his head open with a hatchet. 
He uttered one cry and fell. Then the dog began to bark. 
We threw the mate overboard, and, realizing that there must 
be considerable blood on the deck, although it was too dark to 
see, we washed it off as best we could, and then the officers 
appeared on deck." 

St. Clair and Hansen were tried in the Federal Courts and 
found guilty. On October 18, 1895, they were hanged at San 



During the month of November, 1892, Miss Truly Shat- 
tuck was employed in a store called the "Vienna Bazaar," at 
1132 Market street. She was a girl of striking appearance 
and had admirers galore, but her favorite seemed to be a 
young man named Harry Poole, who, on the death of his 
grandfather, Mr. Gerlack, expected to inherit $100,000.00. 

In 1893 Truly secured an engagement as a chorus girl 
in the Tivoli Opera House. She and Poole gradually became 
more intimate and on June 4, 1894, Mrs. Jane Shattuck, the 
mother of Truly, addressed a note to Poole, in which she re- 
quested him to declare his intentions toward Truly. This 
note resulted in a bitter quarrel between Poole and Mrs. 

On Sunday morning, July 7, 1894, Truly Shattuck re- 
turned to her home at 413 Stevenson street. She admitted 
to her mother that she had spent the night with Harry Poole, 
but attempted to pacify her by saying that they were to be 
married on the following Monday. 

Mrs. Shattuck then ordered Truly to write a note to 
Poole, which the mother dictated as follows: 

"Dear Harry: — For God's sake come down at once for 
Mama is dying and wants to see you. My darling, if you 
love me, come quickly, or you may not see her alive. 

"With love, Truly. 

"P. S. — Harry, you can afford to forgive her, and for 
love of heaven come quickly." 


San Francisco Cases 97 

This note was sent by a messenger and Poole called im- 
mediately. He found Mrs, Shattuck propped up on pillows 
in her bed. She told Poole that he and Truly had done wrong. 
Poole began stroking her left hand, which was outside of 
the bed covers, and admitted that the accusation was true, 
but stated that on the following day he would make amends 
for the evil he had done by making Truly his wife. 

Truly left the room at this moment, and the next instant 
a pistol shot rang out. She rushed back to the room and 
found Poole lying on the floor dying, with a bullet hole in 
his temple, while Mrs. Shattuck had a revolver in her right 
hand which she had previously concealed in the bed. She 
was hysterical and declared she had killed Poole because he 
had taken her "baby girl." 

She was tried before Judge E. A. Belcher, and was found 
guilty of murder. On June 4, 1894, she was sentenced to 
life imprisonment. 

Her defense was insanity and a new trial was subse- 
quently granted by the Supreme Court, with the result that 
on December 15, 1895, she was acquitted. 

Truly took advantage of the notoriety she gained fol- 
lowing this tragedy and procured an engagement as a singer 
on the vaudeville stage. Her beautiful face and figure, and 
fairly good voice, made her quite an attraction both in America 
and Europe, but a critic has recently referred to her as 
"Truly Shattuck, with a voice truly shattered." 

98 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


Joseph Blanther was born in Rankerburg Steirmart, Aus- 
tria, in 1859. When nineteen years of age he was made a 
Lieutenant in the Austrian army, and a few months later, on 
December 12, 1878, was knighted and decorated by Emperor 
Franz Josef for distinguished services in battle. 

Because of some peculiar transaction he retired from the 
army and left his native land. He arrived in San Francisco 
on February 2, 1896, and took up lodgings at the residence of 
Mr. Hogan, at 222 Haight street. He was a liberal spender 
among the fairweather friends he chanced to m€tt, and de- 
lighted to maintain a show of wealth. 

He had been living at the Hogan residence only a short 
while when he borrowed $15 from Miss Hogan, at the same 
time obtaining $9.70 from a Mrs. Gilbert, who lived in the 
same house. For security he gave both ladies worthless 
checks on the Columbia Bank. 

About this time he met Mr. C. H. Tebbs, a newspaper 
artist. Blanther, who had done some writing for Harper's 
and the Argonaut, and Tebbs, became quite friendly, and 
Blanther borrowed Tebbs' camera. When the artist asked 
him to return it, Blanther made so many excuses that the 
Harry Morse detective agency was finally employed to re- 
cover it. Captain Cullenden was assigned to the case, and 
obtained a confession from Blanther to the effect that he 
had pawned the camera to a broker on Kearney street, where 
it was subsequently recovered. 

As Blanther claimed that he was actually starving and 
was forced to raise the money, Tebbs declined to prosecute 

In 1896 an aged and decrepit old lady named Mrs. Phil- 
ipini Langfeldt occupied a room at the residence of Dr. 
Kleineburg, at 1225 Geary street. She loved to create the 
impression that she possessed much wealth, and almost con- 




VALUED AT % 280,000 



CHARLES HAOLEY. pound oo.lty op 









^^,005 ePUFOPW,^ 

HAN«ei> AT SAN oose. 

IAN 50TA, 




San Francisco Cases 99 

stantly wore five very valuable rings set with diamonds and 

Blanther remained at the Hogan home but a short time, 
and after a brief trip to Portland took up his residence at the 
home of the widow of Detective James Handley, at 828 
Geary street, four blocks from the Langfeldt home. 

He learned of the "wealthy" old lady and obtained an 
introduction. Notwithstanding the great differences in their 
ages, he paid her marked attention and made a great display 
of his decorations, never missing an opportunity to tell of 
his hairbreadth escapes on the bloody battlefield, and inci- 
dentally to refer to the honors bestowed upon him by the 

On Friday, May 15, 1896, Mrs. Langfeldt told Mrs. 
Kleineburg that she expected Mr. Blanther to call that 

While no one saw Blanther enter the house, different 
members of the household heard some man laughing and 
talking with Mrs. Langfeldt in her apartments. This per- 
son arrived about 9 p. m., and Dr. Kleineburg heard him leave 
at ll:10 p. m. 

At 9 a. m. on the following morning a domestic in the 
house named Susie Miller took a cup of coffee to Mrs. Lang- 
feldt's room, but as she received no response to her 
knocks at the door she notified Dr. Kleineburg. 

Officer Thomas Atchison was called, and he broke in the 
door. In the middle of the floor was the body of the old lady, 
her head almost severed from the body, evidently by a razor. 
As might be imagined, everything near the body was saturated 
with blood. 

Captain of Detectives Lees was called and he found drops 
of blood in remote corners of the room, which convinced him 
that the assassin had probably cut one of his hands in cutting 
the old lady's throat. The five rings which she wore were 
stripped from her fingers, and the apartments were rifled. 
Suspicion at once fell on Blanther. 

Mrs. Handley, his landlady, was visited, and she stated 
that Blanther arrived home on the preceding evenmg at 

lOO Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

1 1 :20, ten minutes after Dr. Kleineburg heard Mrs. Lang- 
feldt's visitor leave. She stated that he went to the bath- 
room, and while she heard him leave the house on the fol- 
lowing morning at 6 o'clock, an unusually early hour, he did 
not sleep in his bed during the night. 

J. E. Lynch, a roomer in the same house, stated that 
he saw Blanther leave the bathroom about 1 1 :30 on the pre- 
ceding night, just as he entered it, and noticing crimsoned 
water in the bottom and on the sides of the basin he con- 
cluded that Blanther had a "nose bleed" or had cut his 

Architect George Dodge came forward and made a state- 
ment substantially as follows: 

"I became acquainted with Blanther when he resided at 
Mr. Hogan's home on Haight street. I saw him on Friday 
evening, the night of the murder, and he was despondent. He 
informed me that he had just pawned his overcoat, and if 
he did not get some money somewhere he would commit 

"When he left me at 8:15 p. m. he told me that he was 
going to visit a friend on Geary street. 

"On the following morning he appeared at my office at 
9 o'clock, an unusually early hour, and pretended to be in 
high spirits. He seldom wore gloves, but on this morning 
he wore a maroon colored glove on his left hand, even while 
rolling a cigarette. 

"Many weeks ago Blanther told me that while at the 
racetrack one day he met a lady named Mrs. Genevieve Marks, 
who resided with a Mrs. King, at 427 O'Farrell street. He 
said that this lady had valuable diamonds upon which she de- 
sired to borrow some money, and he aSked me if I could 
procure a loan on them. I replied that I thought I could, but 
that I would require a written authorization from Mrs. Marks. 

"On Saturday morning he delivered two unset diamonds 
to me with the following note : 

" 'Mr. J. Blanther : I hereby authorize you to borrow 
money on collateral security given to you by me, consisting of 
diamonds. GENEVIEVE MARKS.' 

San Francisco Cases loi 

"After reading the letter of authorization I felt reassured 
and returned it to Blanther. I then went with Blanther to a 
money lender named Henry Lacey, who loaned me $100 on 
the stones. 

"Blanther did not enter Lacey's oflfice, but remained out- 
side. As I had business in Alameda, and as Blanther told 
me that he was going to Oakland, thence to San Jose to meet 
Mrs. Marks, we rode across the bay together. 

"As he pulled out several cigars during the morning I 
playfully opened his coat and looking at the pocket where the 
cigars were kept, I laughingly said : 'You must have beat 
the slot machines.' When I opened his coat I noticed a razor 
in the pocket with the cigars. I now recall that Blanther did 
not appreciate my little joke. 

"He left the local train at Seventh and Broadway streets, 
and said he would see me the next evening." 

Mrs. Marks made a statement substantially as follows : 

"It is true that I know Blanther, and he called at my 
home many times. I have several diamonds, and Blanther 
annoyed me with the interest he took in them and the ques- 
tions he asked regarding their value. 

"The man became obnoxious to me, so I suggested to 
him that it would be better if he ceased to call, and I notified 
Mrs. King, my landlady, that thereafter I was not at home if 
Mr. Blanther called. 

"I have not seen him for weeks, and yesterday, the day 
I was alleged to have made an appointment for a meeting 
at San Jose, I was sick in bed at home. 

"I never asked Blanther to hypothecate any diamonds 
for me nor did he ever have any of my jewelry in his posses- 

Mrs. King, when questioned, corroborated Mrs. Marks' 

Henry Lacey, the money lender, was interrogated, and he 
produced the diamonds received by him from Mr. Dodge. 

Mrs. Kleineburg identified them as being exactly the same 
as those in Mrs, Langfeldt's rings. 

Francis Korbel, the Austrian Consul, was called in to 

I02 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

examine Blanther's medals, decorations and papers, and he 
stated that they were undoubtedly genuine and added that 
Blanther was not only an officer in the Austrian army, but a 
Knight in several imperial orders. 

Captain Lees had positive information that Blanther 
boarded train No. 19, bound for Los Angeles, which left 
Sixteenth street, Oakland, at 5 :30 p. m., on the day the body 
was found. Blanther purchased a ticket to Martinez on the 
train, but when he reached Port Costa he purchased a ticket 
to Los Angeles, and continued his journey on the same train. 
He attracted general attention because of the fact that he wore 
maroon colored gloves at all times, even when eating his 

Captain Lees telegraphed to the Los Angeles authorities 
to apprehend him at the train, but through some misunder- 
standing the officer arrived ten minutes too late. 

It was subsequently learned that Blanther procured the 
ticket under the name of Forbes. 

Captain Lees then decided to flood the country with cir- 
culars containing a picture of Blanther, but only two pictures 
of the fugitive could be found. One was taken in his military 
regalia when he was scarcely a man, and while the other pic- 
ture, which was unmounted, had been a good likeness, it had 
faded so that it was useless for copying purposes. It was 
turned over to Theodore Kytka, the handwriting expert, who 
observed that it was printed on solio paper. As this kind of 
paper had only been in use for this purpose for two years, it 
was easy to conclude that the picture had been taken within that 
time. Because of the modeling of the shadows on the face, 
K>'tka concluded that it was printed in some well equipped 
gallery. He obtained Captain Lees' consent to communi- 
cate with the police departments and the Pinkerton agencies 
throughout America, who were requested to visit all photo- 
graph galleries and ascertain if Blanther or "Forbes" had 
within the last two years sat for a picture, and if so to pro- 
cure the negative. 

The Pinkerton agency located the negative in Brand's 
gallery in Chicago, and it was forwarded to Kytka, who re- 

San Francisco Cases 103 

moved the retouching, to make the picture look as natural as 

A good picture and description of the fugitive was then 
sent to the Chicago Detective, a paper of wide circulation, 
with instructions to publish the same. 

On March 2, 1898, the county assessor came into the 
sheriff's office in a little town in Texas and saw Blanther's 
picture, taken from the Chicago Detective, pasted on the 

He said: "Hello, who is this?" The sheriff gave him 
the desired information. The assessor then said : "Well, if 
that ain't the picture of Archibald Forbes our schoolmaster 
over at Koppearl, I am very much mistaken." 

The more he studied the picture the more convinced he 
became. Finally he persuaded the sheriff to accompany him to 
the school. 

After interrogating "Forbes" the sheriff decided to take 
him into custody. As he did so the schoolmaster attempted 
to draw a pistol, but he was overpowered and placed in the 
jail at Meridian, Texas, pending a further examination, which 
proved conclusively that he was Blanther. 

Detective Ed. Gibson was sent after him, but Blanther 
had probably been prepared for nearly two years for such 
an occasion, as he had cyanide of potassium concealed under 
the band of his hat, and the jailers found him dead in his 

I04 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


William M. Fredericks came to California in 1890. He 
worked for a short while as a barber in Shasta County. In 
the spring of 1890 he robbed a stage in Mariposa County 
and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment at Folsom. 
While incarcerated he became friendly with convicts Frank 
Williams and Anthony Dalton, and shortly after being dis- 
charged, he furnished the weapons with which the jail break, 
headed by George Sontag, of the Sontag and Evans gang, 
was attempted on June 27, 1893, in which three prisoners 
were killed and several wounded. (See history of Sontag 
and Evans for particulars.) A few days after this he shot 
and seriously wounded J. T. Bruce, a brakeman at Gold Run, 
Placer County, and two days later he slew Sheriff Pasco of 
Nevada County, at Grass Valley, as he was under the false 
impression that the sheriff was about to arrest him, 

A circular was issued giving a description of Fredericks, 
and offering a reward for his capture. 

On March 14, 1894, Fredericks arrived in San Francisco, 
and on the same night went out to Golden Gate Park and 
there held up and robbed a young man from Truckee named 
Martin Smith. After procuring $150.00 and a gold watch 
and chain, he struck his victim over the head with his pistol. 
Smith uttered a cry of pain and started to run, when Freder- 
icks fired at his head, but Smith had placed his hand to his 
wounded head and the bullet penetrated his wrist. 

On March 23 Fredericks entered the San Francisco 
Savings Union Bank at Market and Fell streets, about the 
noon hour, and drawing a revolver he commanded the cashier, 
William A. Herrick, to hand out the money. Instead of doing 
so, Herrick reached for a pistol, but as he did so Fredericks 
shot him dead. At this instant another clerk fired at Fred- 
ericks, and although the bullet missed him it shattered a pane 
of glass, a splinter of which flew into Fredericks' eye, perma- 

San Francisco Cases 105 

nently ruining it. The robber then fled up Market street to 
Twelfth and crawled under a building. 

Police Officer W. J. Shields gave chase, and as he started 
to crawl under the building Fredericks aimed his revolver at 
him and told him to stop or he would be killed. The brave 
officer did not hesitate, but continued and placed the desperado 
under arrest. When his picture appeared in the paper, Martin 
Smith at once recognized it as the likeness of the man who 
assaulted and robbed him in Golden Gate Park. 

On March 24 he called at the jail and positively identi- 
fied him. Fredericks then made a complete confession to 
Detective John Seymour of his whole criminal career. 

He was convicted on the charge of murdering Cashier 
Herrick and was hanged in San Quentin on July 26, 1895. 


The word "Highbinder" is a phrase once used by a New 
York policeman in referring to a certain Chinese hoodlum, 
and ever since that time it has been applied to that class 
of Chinese. 

In recent years nearly all of the "bad men" among the 
Chinese have joined different "tongs," or societies, which 
are organized for the sole purpose of blackmail and ex- 
tortion and to protect their own members. 

The fact that they do protect their members has caused 
a great number of reputable merchants to join and submit 
to heavy assessments for the purpose of being protected 
from extortionate demands from opposing tongs, and some 
merchants belong to several tongs for this reason. 

The fighting is always done by the "bad men" of the 
organization, who seldom follow any legitimate vocation. 
They were formerly called "hatchet men," because their 


I06 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

favorite weapon was a lather's hatchet, with which they 
would split open their victim's skull. A hatchet has often 
been found partially buried in the head of the victim. In 
later years they have discarded the hatchet, as there were 
several instances where the prospective victim overpowered 
the would-be assassin before the fatal blow was struck. 
They now use large revolvers, and usually aim at the small 
of the back, with the expectation that if the wound does 
not prove fatal immediately, the bullet will cut the intes- 
tines and death will eventually follow from blood-poisoning. 

The assassin is always accompanied by a confederate. 
They aim to commit the deed when no white witnesses are 
present, and as the Chinese witnesses are afraid to testify, 
it is difficult to obtain convictions. 

Fong Ching, alias Little Pete, was born in Kow Gong, 
Canton, China, in 1864, and came to San Francisco ten 
years later. He attended the Sunday school of the Metho- 
dist Chinese mission and learned to speak the English 
language fluently. 

Two of the largest associations in Chinatown are the 
Sam Yups and the See Yups, and a great deal of rivalry 
has existed between them in the past. 

Pete joined the Sam Yups, and became the society's inter- 
preter and conducted all of their business, so far as their deal- 
ings with Americans were concerned. He was really quite a 
handsome appearing fellow and was always immaculate in ap- 
pearance. He took excellent care of his health, was bright eyed 
and clear skinned, and indulged in none of the vices common to 
his race. While he had the Oriental cunning to a rare degree 
and combined with it the ability to adapt it to Occidental 
conditions, still he had many redeeming qualities. He was 
extremely ambitious, and even when he was receiving but 
$10 per month, while employed in a shoe store, he con- 
tributed toward the support of his relatives. 

When Pete had acquired a sufficient knowledge of the 
shoe business he borrowed a few hundred dollars and es- 
tablished himself in that business under the name of "F. C. 
Peters & Co." He rapidly built up a big wholesale busi- 

San Francisco Cases 107 

ness and paid his white drummers and other employees as 
high salaries as they could obtain anywhere in that line. 

The object in using the American name was to prevent 
the patrons of the retailers, who might be prejudiced 
against Chinese, from knowing that their footwear was 
manufactured in the heart of Chinatown. The enterprise 
flourished up to the time of Pete's death, and he also con- 
ducted several gambling clubs. 

Pete also found time to woo and win a Chinese maiden, 
and he had a happy little family, consisting of a wife and 
three bright little children. 

Before he was of age he organized the "Gi Sin Seer" 
society or "tong," and a large proportion of its members 
were of the criminal class and principally highbinders. Pete 
was unscrupulous, audacious and resourceful, and backed 
up by this organization of hatchet men he levied tribute 
on all classes, and if the demand was not complied with 
the obstinate one's "head's assurance was but frail." 

This "tong" was so successful that another faction of 
the same class of criminals organized, naming their "tong" 
the "Bo Sin Seer." 

The bitterest enmity existed between these rival or- 
ganizations, as Pete constantly outwitted the opposition. 

It was decided that the only way to conquer him was 
to kill him, and Pete, learning of this, immediately em- 
ployed a Chinaman named Lee Chuck to act as his body- 

About July 23, 1886, Detective Glennon told Lee Chuck 
to be on his guard, as a conspiracy was afoot to kill him. 
Accordingly Lee procured a heavy coat of mail, which 
weighed thirty-five pounds. It was shaped like a vest and 
was a mass of small steel chains. 

On October 28 he met Yen Yuen, a highbinder of the 
rival tong, at the corner of Spofford alley and Washington 
street. After an exchange of words Lee Chuck pulled a 
pistol and shot his opponent five times, killing him instantly. 

Officers J. B. Martin (afterward Chief of Police) and 
M. O. Sullivan rushed to the scene. Martin pursued Lee 

io8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Chuck, and was rapidly overtaking him when the China- 
man turned and snapped his pistol twice as Martin came 
upon him. Fortunately the cartridges did not explode, and 
the officer had about overpowered him when the Chinaman 
drew another revolver ; but Sullivan arrived at this moment, 
and between the two the murderous heathen was disarmed. 
When he was searched at the prison he was wearing the 
coat of mail above described. 

Shortly after the arrest of Lee Chuck, Little Pete ap- 
proached Officer Martin and offered him a bribe of $400 
if he would perjure himself and give testimony favorable to 
the defendant. Martin took Little Pete into custody, and 
on August 5, 1886, he was indicted by the Grand Jury for 
attempting to bribe an officer. 

On August 23 Lee Chuck was held to answer before the 
Superior Court by Judge Rix, and on January 26, 1887, the 
trial began before Superior Judge Toohy. 

In the early part of the trial Pete, who was out on bail, 
was ordered from the courtroom for attempting to prompt 
witnesses. The next sensation was the arrest of one Dick 
Williams for attempting to bribe one of the jurymen, but 
he was acquitted. 

On February 4, 1887, Lee Chuck was found guilty, 
and on March 29 he was sentenced to be hanged. The case 
was appealed to the Supreme Court, and a new trial was 
granted, but with the same result. The case was again 
appealed and again a new trial was granted, and on this 
occasion he was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment. 

On February 10, 1892, he was adjudged insane and 
committed to the Agnews Asylum, where he remained until 
May 30, 1904, when Governor Pardee agreed to pardon him 
provided he was deported. 

He was reported as having recovered, but the steam- 
ship companies refused to carry him, fearing that the 
Chinese Government would not permit him to land. He 
was taken back to San Quentin on June 17, 1904, but on 
April 13, 1905, he was again sent to Agtiews. 

We now return to the trials and tribulations of "Little 

San Francisco Cases 109 

Pete," who was held to answer for the attempted bribery, 
and on January 7, 1887, his trial began, which resulted in 
the jury disagreeing on January 18. On May 16 the second 
trial began, and on the 27th inst. the jury again disagreed. 

On August 16 the third trial began, but was far more 
sensational than those preceding, as numerous efforts were 
made to bribe jurymen. A. Mayfield was the first juror to 
report that he had been approached by a mysterious white 
man, who offered him $250 "to look after Pete's interests." 
The next day a similar proposition was made to Juror Feder 
by a Chinaman. Then Juror Blanchard swore out a war- 
rant of arrest for J. T. Emerson, charging him with offering 
a bribe. This was the same Emerson who testified in be- 
half of Williams, who was charged with a similar offense 
in the Lee Chuck case. 

Assistant District Attorney Dunne afterward stated that 
but for the untimely publicity given to the attempts to cor- 
rupt this jury, he would have trapped the leaders, and when 
the facts were known it would have caused one of the great- 
est sensations in the criminal history of San Francisco. 

On August 24, 1887, this jury returned a verdict of 
guilty, after thirty minutes' deliberation, and on September 
7 Pete was sent to Folsom for five years. 

At the expiration of Pete's term he was liberated, but 
the only effect that his imprisonment had was to make him 
more cautious. 

In the early part of March, 1896, the bookmakers and 
the public who attended the races at the Bay District track 
realized that they were being systematically victimized, but 
the conspiracy was too deep for them to fathom, and their 
bankrolls were diminishing at an alarming rate. It was 
impossible to say what would have happened if a jockey 
named A. Hinricks, who was one of the conspirators, had 
not become disgruntled and confessed. It was then shown 
by his statement, which was substantiated by confessions 
subsequently obtained from others, that Little Pete had 
told Dow Williams, a colored trainer employed by Lucky 
Baldwin, Jockey Chevalier, Jockey Chorn of Barney Schrei- 

no Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ber's stable, and Hinricks, that if they would follow his di- 
rections they would all become rich and no one would be 
the wiser. 

He explained that as Chevalier, Chorn and Hinricks 
usually rode the fastest horses, it could be arranged in 
advance which one of the three should win the race:, and 
then Pete would play heavily on that horse and share his 
winnings with the four. 

Suspicion would be at once aroused if any of these 
jockeys were seen talking confidentially to such a notorious 
character as Pete, so the colored trainer, Williams, was to 
perform his little part by ascertaining the horse selected to 
win and whisper the word to Pete. 

After a few weeks Hinricks began to suspect that he 
was not getting his share, so he confessed everything to 
Tom Williams, the President of the California Jockey Club. 

Pete was known to have bet as much as $6,000 in one 
day, and it is estimated that the conspirators cleared up 
about $100,000 in a few weeks. Pete also gave tips to his 
close friends, many of whom profited by the fraud. 

After hearing all the evidence the Board of Stewards 
made public the following findings : 
"To the Board of Directors, California Jockey Club : 

"Gentlemen : The Stewards having become cognizant 
that a conspiracy existed between certain jockeys riding at 
the Bay District track and a Chinaman known as 'Little 
Pete,' in the placing of horses in the races lor the purpose 
of fraud, have instituted a most thorough investigation, and 
their findings warrant the expulsion of Jerry Chorn, Hippo- 
lyte Chevalier, and 'Little Pete' for conspiracy and fraud, 
and the ordering off of Dow Williams and his horses, and 
the refusal of permission to ride to A. Hinricks. 

"(Signed) THOS. WILLIAMS, JR. 

"J. J. BURKE. 

After his return from State prison, Pete employed a 
white man named Ed. Murray to act as his bodyguard, and 

San Francisco Cases in 

on the evening of January 24, 1897, Pete left his home, 
located at 821 Washington street, and went downstairs to 
the barber shop to get shaved. 

Believing that he would not be attacked in that place 
he sent his bodyguard down to the New Western Hotel, 
two blocks distant, to learn the result of the horse races. 

This was the first time that Pete had been unguarded 
for months. The assassins had probably trailed him all of 
that time, and like a flash they took advantage of this op- 
portunity. Two Chinese rushed into the shop and began 
firing at Pete as he sat in the barber chair. He was virtually 
shot to pieces, two bullets passing through his head. 

The two highbinders then fled around the corner into 
Waverley Place, threw their guns in the street, so as to be 
rid of all incriminating evidence, entered a building, passed 
out the back way and were never seen again. 

Two Chinese named Wing Sing and Chin Poy were 
arrested as suspects, but were released because of insuffi- 
cient evidence. 

The news of the murder spread like wildfire through 
the Chinese quarter, and Pete's adherents flocked to the 
scene of the crime. They saw the brains of their organiza- 
tion oozing out on the barber-shop floor, and the sight trans- 
formed them into wild-eyed fiends. 

A Chinaman known as "Big Jim," because of his gi- 
gantic proportions, was the leader of the See Yup Society, 
and as this organization was said to be antagonistic to Pete's 
society, the Sam Yups, it was suspected that he was the chief 
conspirator, especially as he was near the scene of the killing 
when it occurred. 

Jim was a millionaire and undoubtedly the richest 
Chinaman in America, with the possible exception of some 
of the officials at Washington. 

Pete, because of his resourcefulness, was a constant 
thorn in the side of Jim, as he was continually upsetting his 
best laid plans, and it was in view of these facts that Jim 
was suspected and a price put upon his head. 

Jim then demonstrated that he had none of Pete's 

112 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

fighting qualities in his composition, for he immediately 
went into seclusion, and after hurriedly arranging his busi- 
ness aflFairs, he fled to China with his white wife and family. 
Pete's loyalty to Lee Chuck even commanded the re- 
spect of his adversaries and caused him to be worshiped 
by his adherents, many of whom would have gladly fought 
and died for him. 

On the day of the funeral they came by the thousands 
from adjoining towns to pay their last respects, and it was 
estimated that there were at least 30,000 Mongolians in the 
Chinese quarters while the services were being conducted. 

All factions suspended business, and the feeling be- 
tween the See Yups and Sam Yups was so intense that one 
overt act would have instantly started a battle whereby 
hundreds of lives might have been lost. 

Although Pete received his religious training in the 
Methodist Chinese Mission, the moment he died his rela- 
tives took all the precautions in vogue among the heathen 
Chinese to bribe any evil spirits which might be hovering 

Little slips of paper, supposed to have intrinsic value 
because they were "blessed" by the priest, were burned in 
front of the door to appease the wrath of the evil spirits, 
and while en route to the graveyard a Chinaman sat on the 
hearse, which was drawn by six magnificent black horses, 
and scattered similar slips to the four winds of heaven. 

A roasted pig, surrounded by Chinese delicacies and 
burning punks, was placed at the head of the casket for 
the purpose of preventing Pete's spirit from suffering from 
hunger. By placing small cups of tea near the other delica- 
cies, the spirit's thirst was also provided for. 

The funeral was conducted with all the barbaric splen- 
dor known to the Chinese race, with a mixture of Occidental 
customs. The services at the home were conducted by a 
long, lean and hungry-looking priest, who was attired in 
his gaudiest array. The widow and children were seated 
on the floor, and whenever the paid mourners, who were 
on their hands and knees, with their heads down to the 

San Francisco Cases 113 

floor, ceased their "weeping and wailing and gnashing of 
teeth," the priest would ring a little bell and begin "chant- 
ing" a prayer until again interrupted by the wail from his 
leather-lunged brethren on the floor. He would then salaam 
and patiently await another opportunity. 

In strange contrast with the general surroundings were 
the magnificent floral pieces sent by American friends. The 
funeral procession was headed by an American military 
band, followed by the Chinese band. 

After the American band finished playing a dirge, the 
Chinese would make an attack with their tom-toms, "cymbals 
and screeching flutes, which certainly must have created a 
panic among the evil spirits thereabout. 

The immense tinsel-covered image of a dragon, the head 
of which was at least eight feet across and the body at 
least seventy feet long, was carried by about two dozen 
Chinese, who had it propped up in the air by means of 
sticks. About one hundred carriages escorted the remains 
to the receiving vault, where they reposed until his widow 
had them shipped to China. 

114 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


Theodore Durrant was born in Toronto, Canada, in 
1871, and while a child came to San Francisco with his 
parents, who gave him a good education. In 1895 he was 
a medical student at Cooper Medical College. He pretended 
to be a devout Christian and was one of the most active 
members of Emanuel Baptist Church, which is located on 
Bartlett, near Twenty-third street. The younger members 
of this church organized a society for social purposes, and 
Durrant was elected Secretary, and was also a Superintend- 
ent in the Sunday-school. In 1894 a most estimable young 
lady, named Blanche Lamont, left her home in Dillon, Mont., 
because of poor health and came to San Francisco to con- 
tinue her studies for the purpose of eventually following the 
vocation of a school-teacher. 

She made her home with her uncle and aunt, Mr. and 
Mrs. C. G. Noble, at 209 Twenty-first street, where her sis- 
ter, Maud, also resided. Blanche was a very religious girl 
and seldom went to places of amusement, but when she 
did she was usually accompanied by her relatives. She 
always attended the Emanuel Baptist Church and was a 
member of the Christian Endeavor, where she was a great 
favorite, because of her lovable disposition and good 

On the morning of April 3, 1895, Miss Lamont left 
home as usual to attend the Boys' High School, in which 
building she was taking a course at that time. While en 
route to this school she was accompanied by Durrant, who, 
after leaving her, went to the Cooper Medical College. 
After Miss Lamont finished her studies at this school she 
repaired to the Normal School on Powell street, between 
Clay and Sacramento, where she was to take instructions 
in cooking, between 2 and 3 p. m. Shortly after 2 o'clock 
Durrant appeared in front of this school and waited im- 

San Francisco Cases 115 

patiently until nearly 3 p. m., when Miss Lament came out 
of the building accompanied by a classmate named Minnie 
Edwards. Durrant approached and engaged Miss Lamont 
in conversation. Miss Edwards continued to the corner 
and got inside of the next southbound Powell street car 
and saw Durrant and Miss Lamont take seats on the 
dummy, Miss Lamont having her school books with her. 

Two other classmates of Miss Lamont, Miss Lanagan 
and Miss Pleasant, who were walking home, also saw her 
sitting on the dummy with Durrant. 

On this day some street-pavers were re-laying some 
old-fashioned paving at Twenty-second and Bartlett streets, 
and as Attorney Martin Quinlan was passing this place 
curiosity prompted him to stop and watch the re-laying of 
this almost obsolete style of paving. While so doing, Theo- 
dore Durrant, whom he knew well, passed with a young 
lady of the same general appearance of Miss Lamont. 

They were then walking in the direction of the Emanuel 
Baptist Church, a few hundred feet distant. Quinlan fixed 
the time as about 4:15 p. m., because of an appointment he 
was about to keep with a Mr. Clark on Mission street. 

Diagonally across the street from this church, at 124 
Bartlett street, lived a Mrs. Leake, who had a married 
daughter named Mrs. Maguire, whose home was in San 
Mateo. On this date the daughter came to San Francisco, 
called on her mother and then went downtown to do some shop- 
ping, informing her mother that she would be back in the 
early afternoon. 

As it was growing late the mother became uneasy about 
her daughter and sat in the window eagerly awaiting her 
return. At seventeen minutes past four she looked at the 
clock and then returned to the window, but instead of seeing 
her daughter approach she saw Durrant, whom she knew 
well as a member of her church, and a young lady of Miss 
Lamont's general appearance walk up to. the church, where 
Durrant opened the side gate and followed the young lady 
inside. This was the last seen of Blanche Lamont. 

About 5 p. m. George King, the church organist, came 

ii6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

to the church for the purpose of practicing for the next serv- 
ice. He had hardly begun his practice when Durrant opened 
the door leading down from the belfry. Durrant and King 
had been close friends, and King stated that when Durrant 
opened this door he was very pale, nervous and weak and 
was without a coat and hat. He stated that Durrant ex- 
plained his weakened condition by saying that he had been 
up near the roof, trying to locate a leak in the gaspipe and 
had been overcome by gas. King ran to a drug store near 
Valencia and Twenty-second streets and returned with a 
bottle of bromo-seltzer, which Durrant drank. 

When he claimed that he had recovered, King asked him 
to assist in carrying a small organ from the auditorium 
upstairs down to the main floor. Durrant consented, but 
King stated that he detected no odor of gas whatever while 
upstairs, and furthermore that all the gas fixtures had been 
inspected by plumbers just previous to this time and were 
in good condition. Shortly after removing the organ the 
two men left the church, Durrant walking to King's home 
with him, although Durrant's home was in an opposite di- 
rection and he claimed to be feeling weak because of his 
alleged narrow escape from gas asphyxiation. 

That night a prayer meeting was held at the church. 
Blanche Lamont, not having returned home, caused her 
aunt, Mrs. Noble, to worry greatly. Thinking Blanche 
might possibly have gone to the home of some friend, and 
would, as usual, attend the prayer meeting, Mrs. Noble also 
attended the meeting in hopes of seeing her niece. The 
lady was almost distracted, but refrained from telling of 
Blanche's disappearance, believing that the girl would re- 
turn. Durrant had a seat just in the rear of Mrs. Noble, 
and during the services said to her : "Is Blanche here to- 
night?" Mrs. Noble replied : "No, she did not come." 

Durrant then said: "Well, I regret that she is not with 
us to-night, as I have a book called The Newcombs,' for her, 
but I will send it to the house." 

After a few days of suspense Mrs. Noble could stand 
the strain no longer and she communicated the mysterious 

San Francisco Cases 117 

disappearance of her niece to the police and the press. As 
Durrant was "above suspicion," no one considered it worth 
while to mention the fact that they had seen her in his company 
on the day of her disappearance. Durrant called on Mrs. Noble 
and offered his services in the search for the lost girl, and sub- 
sequently intimated to Mrs. Noble and a fellow student named 
Herman Slagater that he had received information which 
caused him to arrive at the conclusion that Blanche Lamont had 
not departed from this life, but worse: she had departed from 
the life of morality, and was even then in a house of ill repute 
from which he would endeavor to persuade her to return to the 
path of righteousness. A few days after making this state- 
ment, the church janitor saw Durrant at the Oakland Ferry 
landing and asked him what he was doing there. Durrant 
replied that he was working on a clew he had obtained as to 
Blanche Lamont's whereabouts. 

At the time of Miss Lamont's disappearance she had 
three rings in her possession, and on April 13 the postman 
delivered to Mrs. Noble an Examiner, wrapped in the usual 
fashion for the mail, and upon opening it, the three rings 
which Blanche Lamont wore fell out. 

Subsequently, Adolph Oppenheimer, who conducted a 
pawn shop at 405 Dupont street, identified Durrant as the 
man who attempted to sell one of these rings to him, between 
the 4th and 10th of April. 

On April 12, an estimable young lady named Minnie 
Williams, left the home of C. H. Morgan in Alameda, and 
as she was about to leave his employ she had her trunk sent 
to the residence of Mrs. Amelia Voy at 1707 Howard street, 
in this city. Miss Williams was also a member of the Eman- 
uel Baptist Church, and on this very day she announced to 
the Morgans that she contemplated attending a meeting of 
young church members to be held at the home of a dentist 
named Dr. T. A. Vogel, at 7:30 that evening. 

The girl never appeared there, and Durrant, who was 
secretary of the society and should have been prompt in at- 
tendance, did not arrive until 9:30 p. m., and his excited and 
overheated appearance was a matter of general comment 

ii8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

among those present. The meeting adjourned at 11 :25 p. m. 
and the young folks repaired to their homes with the excep- 
tion of Durrant, who, for reasons best known to himself, went 
to Emanuel Baptist Church at this midnight hour. 

April 13, the day Mrs. Noble received her niece's rings, 
was the Saturday preceding Easter Sunday, and the Chris- 
tian ladies proceeded to this church laden with flowers to 
suitably decorate in honor of the greatest anniversary of the 
Christian year. 

Mrs. Nolt, of 910 Twenty-first street, accompanied by 
Misses Minnie Lord and Katie Stevens, were among the first 
to arrive, and in the library they found the horribly mutilated 
remains of Minnie Williams. Her clothing was partially torn 
from her body and she had been repeatedly stabbed, then 
gagged and outraged. Some of her torn clothing had been 
stuffed down her throat so tightly that it required considerable 
effort to remove it. A broken knife blade was still in her 

The police immediately instituted an investigation and 
Captain Lees, who was at the time in Los Angeles, proceeded 
to San Francisco to take charge of the case, assisted by Detec- 
tives John Seymour, Ed. Gibson and others. 

Charles Hill, of 203>^ Bartlett street, stated that about 
8 o'clock on the preceding night he had observed a young 
lady of Miss Williams' appearance enter the church in com- 
pany with a young man whom he thought was Theodore Dur- 
rant. This caused a search to be made for Durrant at his 
home, but it was learned that early on the morning of the 
discovery of Minnie Williams' body, he had left the city with 
the Signal Corps of the State Militia. A search was made 
of his clothing in his room, and Minnie Williams' purse was 
found in his overcoat. Detective A. Anthony was detailed to 
trail Durrant and arrest him, and on Sunday, April 14, An- 
thony and Constable Palmer arrested him near Walnut Creek, 
notwithstanding the indignant protest made by Lieutenant 
Perkins against this "outrageous accusation." 

While Anthony was engaged in apprehending Durrant, 
the remainder of the detective force began a systematic search 

San Francisco Cases 119 

of the church, with the result that they found even a more 
blood-curdHng sight in the belfry than that beheld by the 
ladies in the library. 

This belfry was in semi-darkness, but enough light en- 
tered for the detectives to behold what appeared like a marble 
carving of an absolutely nude girl lying on the floor, with a 
block of wood under her head. She was laid out on her back 
after death with her hands carefully crossed over her breast, 
in a position similar to that of bodies used by medical students 
in the dissecting room. A far more thorough search was nec- 
essary to locate her clothes and school-books, but they were 
eventually found poked in between the studdings and the lath 
and plaster of the building. Blanche Lamont's name appeared 
in the books. 

An autopsy disclosed the fact that she died from strangu- 
lation but decomposition had reached such a state that it was 
impossible to determine if an outrage had been committed. 
While the body was as white as marble as it lay in the cool 
belfry, when it was removed to the body of the church, where 
the air was much warmer, it turned almost jet black. 

Notwithstanding the overwhelming amount of evidence, 
which proved conclusively that Durrant accompanied Miss 
Lamont from the school to Emanuel Baptist Church, he denied 
having seen her that day and attempted to prove an alibi by 
swearing that he was at Cooper Medical College at the time 
it was alleged he was in the very act of murdering this girl. 
While it is true that the records showed that some one an- 
swered his name at roll call at the conclusion of Dr. Cheney's 
lecture, it was shown that it was customary for the students 
to answer for each other in case of absence, and no one would 
swear that Durrant was present at this lecture. As proof 
that he was not present, it was shown that several days after- 
ward he persuaded a fellow student, Mr. Glaser, to give him 
the notes that he, Glaser, had taken at the lecture. As soon 
as the finger of suspicion was pointed toward Durrant, in- 
formation poured in to Captain Lees, proving that the pris- 
oner was a degenerate of the most depraved class. For 
obvious reasons, names cannot be given of young ladies to 

I20 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

whom he made the most disgusting propositions, and the 
wonder of it is that he was not killed, or at least exposed 
before. But in most instances the nature of his insults were 
such that the young ladies offended feared to inform their 
relatives, lest they would take the law in their own hands. 
One young lady told her mother that some time previous to 
these murders, Durrant had inveigled her into this same 
library and excusing himself for a moment, returned stark 
naked and she ran screaming from the church. 

Although Minnie Williams was frightfully butchered and 
the room resembled a slaughter-house, not one drop of blood 
could be found on Durrant's clothes, and there is no doubt 
but that he was naked when he committed this crime. He 
probably strangled Blanche Lamont in the library and then 
dragged her body up to the belfry, head first. That this was 
the manner in which he got her body to the place where it 
was found was proven by the finding of hairs from her head 
which caught in splinters on the steps. 

Durrant also attempted to inveigle Miss Lucille Turner 
into this library for the purpose of making a "physical exam- 

The preliminary examination of Durrant began before 
Police Judge Charles Conlon on April 22, 1895. He was de- 
fended by General John Dickenson, and later by Eugene 
Duprey. On May 22 he was held to answer before the Su- 
perior Court for both murders. Captain Lees and District 
Attorney William Barnes decided to try him for the murder 
of Blanche Lamont, as that appeared at the time to be the 
strongest case, but subsequently additional evidence was gath- 
ered which made the Minnie Williams case even stronger than 
the one on which he was tried. 

His trial began before Judge Murphy on July 22, 1895, 
and over one month was occupied in selecting a jury, during 
which time over one thousand prospective jurors appeared in 

During the trial the Alcazar Theater Company produced 
a play called the "Criminal of the Century," which was a 
dramatization of the Durrant murders. This was produced m 

San Francisco Cases 121 


i ■defiance of an order of court prohibiting its production, and 
as a result W. R. Daily, the manager, was sent to jail for 
three days for contempt of court. 

During Durrant's trial fifty witnesses testified for the 
prosecution alone. On September 24 the case was finally 
submitted to the jury, and after deliberating five minutes, 
brought in a verdict of guilty with the death penalty attached. 

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which af- 
firmed the decision of the lower court on April 3, 1897. The 
day of execution was then set for June 11, 1897. 
i fc At this stage of the proceedings. Governor James Budd 

r was appealed to, and after making an extensive personal in- 
I vestigation, he concluded that Durrant was guilty and refused 
to interfere. 

On April 10, 1897, he was taken to San Quentin, and 
another appeal taken which was denied. 

On January 7, 1898, he was hanged. 

He protested his innocence to the last and was one of 
the coolest murderers who ever mounted the scaffold. When 
Warden Hale started to read the death warrant to him he 
said: "I will waive that right and spare you an unpleasant 

The parents took charge of the body immediately after 
the execution, and as they feared grave-robbers, they at- 
tempted to have the body cremated, but no crematory in San 
Francisco would accept the corpse, so strong was the public 
sentiment. A Los Angeles firm accepted it, however, and it 
was cremated in that city on January 13, 1898. 

In nearly all cases when a celebrated criminal is cap- 
tured, a certain class of women take advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to leap into the lime-light by showering him with at- 
tentions, and the more atrocious and depraved the criminal, 
the more these women appear in evidence. This case was 
no exception to the rule, and as soon as the trial began a 
young woman of prepossessing appearance became a constant 
attendant and almost daily presented Durrant with testimo- 
nials of her sympathy in the shape of small bunches of sweet 
peas, which accounted for her being known as the "Sweet 

122 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Pea Girl." Diirrant did not know the girl, but with charac- 
teristic mendacity, he claimed that she was a friend who had 
positive knowledge of his innocence, but he was too "chival- 
rous" to divulge her identity. It subsequently transpired that 
she was Mrs. Rosalind Bowers, and was even then neglecting 
her young husband to worship at the shrine of this degenerate. 
She afterwards lived in a Sutter-street house under the name 
of "Grace King," and was accused of inveigling a wealthy 
clubman named Edward Clarke into a marriage while he was 
under the influence of liquor. 

The author has a photograph taken of Durrant at a 
picnic when he was only sixteen years of age, and the posi- 
tion in which he posed proves conclusively that he was a 
degenerate even as a child. 

Shortly before these crimes were committed, Durrant's 
sister Maude went to Europe to study music. Fourteen years 
later it was learned that "Maude Allen," who was creating a 
sensation in Europe with the "Vision of Salome" dance, was 
in reality Maude Durrant. 

San Francisco Cases 123 



Charles Becker was admitted to be the cleverest forger of 
modern times, and the work of Chief Lees and the Pinkertons 
Agency in capturing and convicting him attracted world-wide 
attention, as will be seen by the following clipping from the 
Chicago Detective, one of the leading police journals in the 
United States: 

''The recent conviction in San Francisco of Charles 
Becker, alias 'The Prince of Forgers,' and James Creegan, 
charged with raising a check on the Crocker- Woolworth Bank 
from $12.00 to . $22,000.00 and obtaining the money from the 
Nevada Bank of the same city, has brought a sigh of relief to 
the thousands of bankers of the United States and Europe. 

"The imprisonment of Becker disposes effectually of the 
cleverest bank swindler of modern times, as he is undoubtedly 
the ablest man intellectually who ever adopted forgery as a 

"The Pinkerton agency were employed by the bankers, 
but they were ably assisted by I. W. Lees, the veteran Chief of 
Police of San Francisco, who had entire charge of the San 
Francisco end of the case and whose knowledge of criminals 
and crime is second to none in the United States." 

The first record we have of Becker is when Joseph Chap- 
man, "Little Joe" Elliott and he burglarized the Third National 
Bank in Baltimore in 1872. The "Chapman & Elliott Broker- 
age Office" was opened on the floor over the bank and they 
tunneled through the floor and drilled the vault. They then 
fled to Europe and committed forgeries throughout that 
country, obtaining about $50,000.00. They were captured in 
Smyrna, Turkey, tried before the English Consular Court and 
sentenced to three years. They escaped, Elliott and Becker 
fleeing to London and deserting Chapman. 

Chapman's wife was the custodian of the savings of the 
trio, and suspecting that his companions would endeavor to 
obtain money from her, he telegraphed, instructing her to 

124 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

g^ve them nothing. It then became necessary to procure the 
money by strategy, so on April 13, 1873, they drugged her, 
but she, having heart disease, died, and they fled to New York, 
where Becker and Joe Riley passed a counterfeit check on the 
Union Trust Company for $64,000.00. They were arrested, but 
Becker was granted immunity for turning State's evidence, 
and Riley served a term in prison. 

Becker and his father-in-law, Clement Hearing, then 
forged an enormous amount of scrip of the Philadelphia and 
Reading Railroad. 

At this time they were conducting a lithograph business 
in New York. Becker was convicted and served a term for 
this crime. In 1881 Becker was again arrested with his father- 
in-law for counterfeiting 1,000- franc notes on the Bank of 
France and served ten years at Kings County Prison. 

When released he took James Creegan as a middle man. 
They invaded every city in the country and left a long list of 
victims behind them. 

In Omaha they defrauded five banks in one day. 

In 1894 Becker, Creegan and Frank Seaver, alias Dean, 
made a trip to the Pacific Coast, and it is estimated that they 
cleared $100,000.00. 

They returned East and in 1895, Becker, Ed Mullady, the 
financial backer; Creegan, the middleman, and Frank Seaver 
and Joe McCluskey came to San Francisco, taking different 

Becker confided in none but Creegan, and the others did 
not even see him. They lodged in different parts of the city. 
Seaver rented an office in the Chronicle Building under the 
name of A. H. Dean, commission merchant, and deposited 
$2,500.00 in the Nevada Bank, and either drew or deposited 
almost daily to make it appear that he was a business man. At 
the Bank of Woodland, Cal., he obtained a draft for $12.00 on 
the Crocker- Woolworth Bank and gave it to Creegan, who 
delivered it to Becker. The figure $ "12" $ being perforated 
on the draft he filled the holes with paper pulp and punched 
$22,000.00$ instead. He erased and altered the draft to cor- 
respond. It was then returned to Seaver, who deposited it to 

San Francisco Cases 125 

his own credit at the Nevada Bank on December 18, 1895. It 
passed this bank and also the Clearing House. 

The next day Seaver procured a horse and buggy and a 
messenger boy and went to the bank and drew the $22,000.00 
in gold and drove out Mission street. He stopped in front of 
a house where he said he lived and bade the boy take the buggy 
to the stable. After the boy got out of sight, Seaver went sev- 
eral blocks to his room, where McCluskey and Creegan awaited 
him. They divided the spoils, Creegan taking his own share, 
also Becker's. 

Becker and Creegan left that night for New York, Seaver 
and McCluskey following a few days later. The fraud was 
discovered on January 4, 1896, when the accounts of the 
Crocker-Woolworth and Woodland Banks were balanced. All 
bankers throughout the country were at once notified of the 
methods employed by the forgers and a description of Seaver 

Chief Lees handled the San Francisco end of the case and 
Pinkertons attended to the East. Shortly afterward A. A. 
Anderson of the St. Paul National Bank stated that a man of 
the appearance of Seaver, alias Dean, had opened an account, 
and about the same time a man of McCluskey's appearance did 
the same thing in Minneapolis. Both men were arrested and 
brought to San Francisco in March, 1896. 

In the meantime Becker and Creegan were under constant 
police surveillance in the East. McCluskey was released be- 
cause of insufficiency of evidence and went East to Becker and 
Creegan and demanded that they render financial assistance to 
Seaver, which they refused to do. 

Seaver then confessed and on his testimony, with other 
evidence already gathered, indictments were found against the 
other three, and they were returnd to San Francisco. Then 
McCluskey confessed. 

Creegan and Becker not only protested their innocence, but 
claimed that they were not in California at the time the crime 
was committed. 

By the testimony of porters, conductors, hotel men and 

126 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

others Chief Lees and Pinkerton showed the jury the move- 
ments of these men from the time they left New York until 
they returned. 

They were found guilty on August 28, 1896, and sen- 
tenced to life imprisonment, but the Supreme Court granted a 
new trial because of an alleged error in the instructions to 
the jury. The new trial was set for December 3, 1896, but in 
the meantime Creegan broke down and confessed, and then 
Becker did likewise and was sentenced to seven years' imprison- 

Creegan was sentenced to serve two years at Folsom, and 
McCluskey died shortly afterward. 




In the latter part of 1897, Mrs. Mary Clute, wife of a 
prominent commercial traveler, resided at 230 Page street, 
San Francisco. 

She was a lady of attractive appearance and had a host 
of friends because of her kindly disposition. 

Albert F. G. Vereneseneckockockhoflf, commonly known 
as "Hoff," was a short, chunky, middle-aged German, with a 
heavy, ill-kept beard and a coarse, brutal face, which took on 
a fiendish expression when he was angered. He resided at 
the Lindell House, No. 262 Sixth street, and made a living by 
working as a handy man about different homes. 

On December 12, 1897, Mrs. Clute decided to move from 
230 Page street to 803 Guerrero street. Having previously 
employed Hoff to do some upholstering, she sent a note to 
the Lindell House, requesting him to call the next day. She 
then went to a store to purchase some carpet lining, but the 
upholsterer informed her that he would not sell her the lining 
unless he was given the work of laying the carpet. This was 
the work she intended to give to Hoff, but having no assurance 

San Francisco Cases 127 

that he would respond promptly, she accepted the upholsterer's 

Hoff called on her the next morning, and she explained 
her predicament and expressed regret that she had incon- 
venienced him. Hoff's manner plainly indicated his displeasure, 
but to compensate him for his loss of time, Mrs. Clute told 
him to come the next afternoon and she would give him a 
job hanging her pictures. The next day, December 15, Hoff 
called at 803 Guerrero street shortly after noon, but as Mrs. 
Clute was not at the house, he rang the door bell of the lower 
flat and one of the occupants, Mrs. L. A. Legg, came to the 
door. Hoff announced his business and made inquiry as to 
the whereabouts of Mrs. Clute. Upon learning that she was 
not in, he proceeded to 230 Page street, arriving about 4 p. m. 
There he met Mrs. Clute who informed him that she was ex- 
ceedingly sorry, but her expressman had disappointed her, and 
that she would surely be moved the next day, and requested 
Hoff to call at 803 Guerrero street at 1 p. m. December 16. 

At this time Hoff was slightly intoxicated ; his breath was 
foul ; his whiskers were besmeared with liquor, and he was in 
an ugly mood because of his loss of time. Mrs. Clute then 
announced to Mrs. Uchold, a neighbor, in the presence of Hoff, 
that she was going over to her new home, and left Hoff talking 
with Mrs. Uchold regarding some work the latter contem- 
plated giving him. When they had finished their conversation, 
Hoff announced that he was going to see Mrs. Clute, to which 
Mrs. Uchold replied: "Why are you going there, she does 
not want you until to-morrow?" 

Hoff apparently disregarded this remark, and proceeded 
to 803 Guerrero street. 

A few moments after 4 p. m., Mrs. Legg, who lived in 
the flat below Mrs. Clute's new home, saw this man return, 
ring Mrs. Clute's bell and go upstairs. At this time Mrs. 
Clute was in her new flat with Jos. Foley, who was laying 
the carpets. At 4:45 p. m. Foley left and at that time Hoff 
was walking aimlessly about the flat while Mrs. Clute was en- 
gaged with some housework. 

Mrs. Legg's aged father-in-law resided with her and her 

128 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

husband in the lower flat, and about 5 p. m. he rushed into 
the kitchen and exclaimed excitedly to his daughter-in-law, who 
was preparing dinner : "I thought I heard you scream." They 
listened a second and then they heard something heavy fall in the 
upper flat. Mrs. Legg started upstairs and seeing HoflF passing 
from one room to another called out: "What is the matter up 
there?" HoflF made no reply and the lady, becoming alarmed, 
returned to her father-in-law. Presently they saw HoflF sneak 
away frcmi the house with a small bag on his shoulder, in 
which he carried his tools. They called out to him to learn 
the cause of the disturbance upstairs, but he pretended not to 
hear them and hurried away. An investigation was then insti- 
tuted and Mrs. Clute's horribly mutilated body was found in 
a back room. Her head was lying in a pool of blood ; her face 
was beaten beyond recognition; there were eight diflFerent 
fractures of the skull, and near the body was found a railroad 
coupling pin covered with blood. 

Mrs. Clute wore valuable jewelry and also had a well- 
filled purse with her at the time she was killed. As none of 
these valuables were taken the motive for the crime has never 
been proven, although it is probable that Mrs. Legg's unex- 
pected appearance on the scene caused the murderer to abandon 
his original plans and consider nothing but the possibility of 
being discovered. 

The next day the papers devoted considerable space to 
this crime and dwelt at length on Mrs. Legg's observations. 
HoflF read this, and realizing that there would be no difficulty 
in locating him, he called on Chief Lees and trembling with 
suppressed excitement, announced that he was the man Mrs. 
Legg probably referred to, but denied all knowledge of the 
crime. He stated that Mrs. Clute was alive and well when he 
left the house and that Mrs. Legg did not come upon the stairs 
and inquire as to the cause of any noise, nor did any one call 
to him regarding anything of the kind when he left the house. 
He disclaimed all knowledge of any coupling pin and laugh- 
ingly inquired as to what use a carpet-layer would have for 
such a cumbersome thing. 

The laugh ceased however when J. G. Zimbleman and 

San Francisco Cases 129 

Mayer May stated positively that they had seen the same pin 
with Hoff's tools on previous occasions. 

While being interrogated by Chief Lees and Detective 
John Seymour, Hoff studiously held his hat in one position 
in his left hand and it attracted the attention of Detective 
Seymour, who asked: "What is the matter with your left 
hand?" "Nothing," replied Hoff. But upon being examined, 
a deep cut was found in the palm. He told two different stories 
as to how this happened. On one occasion he stated that it 
was caused by handling a board with a nail in it and on an- 
other occasion he said it was caused by coming in contact 
with a tack which was in some carpet he handled at Mrs. 
Clute's house. 

The theory was advanced that Mrs. Clute inflicted this 
wound with a dust pan while trying to defend herself. 

Hoff was charged with the murder. On March 15, 1898, 
his trial began, and on April 2 he was found guilty and was 
subsequently sentenced to be hanged. 

His attorney, Wm. Schooler, appealed to the Supreme 
Court on the grounds that the trial judge had erred in the 
instructions given to the jury. The prosecution in this case 
depended entirely on circumstantial evidence and in delivering 
his instructions to the jury the trial judge said: 

"Circumstantial evidence has this great advantage, that 
various circumstances from various sources are not likely to 
be fabricated." 

It was held that whether it is entitled to such credit or not, 
is a question to be determined by the jury from the evidence, 
and that therefore the charge was plainly an argument for the 
prosecution, and in violation of Section 19, Article VI, of the 
Constitution, which provides that: "Judges shall not charge 
juries with respect to matters of fact, but may state the testi- 
mony and declare the law." 

Hoff was granted a new trial, which began on December 3, 
1900, before Judge Carroll Cook, and on December 15, exactly 
three years after the commission of the crime, he was again 
found guilty of murder with the penalty fixed at life imprison- 

130 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

(The decision of the Supreme Court in this case also re- 
sulted in Mrs. Botkin being granted a new trial. See history 
of Mrs. Botkin.) 

On the night after Hoff committed this murder he slept 
with a shoemaker named Robert Goepel, at 524 Post street, 
and he attempted to prove an alibi by this man, who on Sep- 
tember 16, 1898, committed suicide by shooting himself in 
the head. 


In the early part of 1897, a man named John Butler ad- 
vertised in the Sydney, Australia, papers for partners to ac- 
company him on prospecting trips in the Blue Mountain dis- 
trict, adjacent to Sydney. 

A man named Conroy answered the advertisement and 
made preliminary arrangements to accompany Butler, but be- 
fore his plans were completed, he was appointed a Constable 
in Sydney and abandoned the trip. 

A man named Captain Lee Weller took his place and 
the journey began. 

When walking, several miles out of the city, Butler shot 
Weller in the back of the head, killing him instantly. 

Shortly after the shot was fired a boy met Butler in the 
road and asked him who fired the shot. Butler replied: "It 
was me shooting at some game." The boy remarked that he 
had never seen any game in that neighborhood. 

When the body of Weller was discovered the boy related 
his experience to the Sydney police. 

Conroy, the newly appointed Constable, who contemplated 
accompanying Butler, recognized the description of the 
"hunter" as that of Butler. A search was instituted and he 
was traced to the British ship "Swanhilde," bound for San 
Francisco. In the meantime the bodies of three other men 
were found in the Blue Mountains and all of the circumstances 
indicated that they had met death in the same manner. 

San Francisco Cases 131 

Constable Conroy was sent to San Francisco on the first 
steamer. He arrived some days in advance of the "Swan- 
hilde," and was in the party headed by Captain of Detectives 
Lees, which went outside the heads, intercepted the ship and 
located and arrested Butler. 

He was returned to Australia. It was proven that he 
killed all four of the persons whose bodies were found in the 
mountains, and that his motive was to rob them of all money 
in their possession. As he would not accept a partner who 
would not take along a stipulated sum of money, it is estimated 
that he secured considerable money before being discovered. 
He was hanged for his crimes six weeks after his return to 


About 3 a. m., February 14, 1895, Mr. Samuel Salomon, 
who was residing in the residence of Julius L. Franklin at 2930 
California street, San Francisco, heard pistol shots in the base- 
ment. He ran down stairs and found the side door open and 
the butler, Frank Miller, lying on the floor. 

Miller was apparently suffering great pain in the region 
of the abdomen. He stated, between gasps, that he had heard 
some one at the side door, and upon opening it was struck on 
the head with some blunt instrument and kicked in the 

He claimed that he then fired his pistol in self-protection 
and his assailant fled. 

Mr. Franklin, his employer, had full confidence in Miller's 
honesty, and to show his appreciation of his butler's "bravery," 
presented him with a watch valued at $75.00 and $200.00 cash. 

Miller then pretended to have a desire to leave Mr. Frank- 

132 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

lin's employ, as he expressed a fear that the "robbers" would 
return, but the family was exceedingly kind to him and finally 
persuaded him to remain. 

Exactly one year afterward, about 5 a. m., shots were 
again heard in the basement, and upon making an investigation, 
a man who was afterward identified as Billy Murray, of Butte 
City, Mont., was found dying in the back part of the basement 
with a bullet hole in his head. -Miller was lying on the floor, 
apparently unconscious, with a bullet wound in his neck. 

When he was "sufficiently revived" he told a weird tale 
in regard to hearing Murray enter the house, after breaking a 
small piece of glass out of the back door, and that he shot in 
self-defense, killing the alleged burglar. 

Captain Lees investigated the case, and in addition to 
proving the impossibility of Miller's story, it was shown that 
he met Murray near Portsmouth square and inveigled him out 
to Franklin's house, evidently claiming that he was lonesome, 
and Murray, being out of work and penniless, was glad to par- 
take of his "hospitality." 

Miller no doubt had in mind the generous manner in 
which Mr. Franklin had rewarded his "bravery" on a previous 
occasion, and undoubtedly thought the time was ripe to reap 
further golden rewards. 

The wound in Miller's neck was probably made by grasp- 
ing the loose skin under the jaw and pulling it away from the 
neck as far as possible, at the same time raising the pistol with 
the other hand and shooting through the skin. Powder marks 
on the left hand also tended to bear out this theory. 

Mr. Franklin at first declined to believe the police theory 
and refused to assist in a prosecution, but he subsequently 
changed his mind regarding Miller's innocence. 

Miller, who was never prosecuted, left San Francisco, and 
went to Santa Barbara, where he committed a fiendish assault 
on a young girl, for which he was sent to State Prison on De- 
cember 9, 1896, for five years. 

San Francisco Cases 133 


On February 12, 1891, John P. Dunning, who became 
famous as a war correspondent, married Miss Mary Penning- 
ton, daughter of ex-Congressman John Pennington, in Dover, 
Delaware, and the couple came to San Francisco to reside. 

The next year a little daughter was born. The family 
then moved to 2529 California street, and while living at this 
address. Dunning took a stroll in Golden Gate Park one 
afternoon and flirted with a woman sitting on a bench. They 
entered into a conversation, during which the woman said 
her name was "Curtis," and that her husband was in England. 
After they became more familiar the woman admitted that 
she was the wife of Welcome A. Botkin, whom she married 
in Kansas City on September 26, 1872, and that she had a 
grown son named Beverly. Her maiden name was Cordelia 
Brown, and the town of Brownsville, Neb., was named after 
her father. Botkin was for many years connected with the 
Missouri Valley Bank in Kansas City, but lived in Stockton, 
Cal., with his son, Beverly, at the time his wife met Dunning. 
While his wife remained in San Francisco Dunning met Mrs. 
Botkin clandestinely, but Mrs. Dunning took her baby to her 
father's home in Dover, Delaware, and thereafter her hus- 
band and Mrs. Botkin were constant companions at the races 
and cafes. 

Mrs. Botkin moved to 927 Geary street and Dunning 
took a room in the same building. In the course of conver- 
sation he told Mrs. Botkin that his wife was passionately 
fond of candy and that she had a very dear friend in San 
Francisco named Mrs. Corbaley. 

On March 8, 1898, Dunning accepted a position as war 
correspondent with the Associated Press, which made it neces- 
sary for him to depart immediately for Porto Rico. When 
he told Mrs. Botkin his plans, she pleaded with him to re- 
main with her. He turned a deaf ear to her pleadings and 
told her bluntly that he would never return to San Francisco. 

134 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

She accompanied him across the bay and wept bitterly when 
they parted. 

On August 9, 1898, a small package arrived in Dover, 
Delaware, addressed to Mrs. John P. Dunning, That pack- 
age was placed in the mail box belonging to her father, and 
was called for by Mr, Pennington's little grandson and taken 

The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs, Pennington, their 
two daughters, Mrs. Dunning and Mrs. Joshua Deane; their 
son-in-law, Mr. Deane, and the two little children of Mr, 
and Mrs, Deane, 

After supper the family repaired to the veranda, and Mrs. 
Dunning opened the package, which proved to be a fancy candy 
box containing a handkerchief, chocolate creams and a small 
slip of paper on which were the following words : 

"With love to yourself and baby. — Mrs. C." 

Mrs. Dunning could not imagine who had sent the pack- 
age, but being a noble woman, with friends galore, she did 
not suspect that she had an enemy in the world, and there- 
fore her suspicion was not aroused, 

Mrs. Dunning and Mrs. Deane and the latter's two chil- 
dren partook of the candy, as did also two young ladies. Miss 
Millington and Miss Bateman, who chanced to pass the Pen- 
nington residence while the family were seated on the veranda. 
During that night all who partook of the candy were taken 
with retching pains in the stomach and vomited freely. 

All recovered with the exception of Mrs. Dunning, who 
died on August 12, and Mrs. Deane, who died on August 11. 
Autopsies disclosed the fact that these ladies died from arsenic 

Mr. Pennington examined the handwriting on the box and 
on the slip of paper and discovered that it corresponded with 
the handwriting of an unknown person who had written an 
anonymous communication from San Francisco to Mrs. Dun- 
ning many months previously, in which it was alleged that 
Mr, Dunning was on intimate terms with a woman in San 
Francisco. Dr. Wood, a chemist, examined the candy which 

San Francisco Cases 135 

had not been eaten, and discovered a large amount of arsenic 

John P. Dunning was advised by telegraph of what had 
transpired and he proceeded at once to Dover. He imme- 
diately recognized the handwriting as that of Mrs. Botkin and 
recalled his remark to her regarding his wife's fondness for 
candy, and also that his wife had a friend in San Francisco 
named Mrs. Corbaly, which accounted for the initial "C." 
signed to the note. 

Detective B. J. McVey was sent to San Francisco with 
the candy, handkerchief, candy box and the note found in 
the box. Chief of Police I. W. Lees took charge of the 
case. Mrs. Botkin was located in Stockton, Cal., where she 
was living with her husband and son. Detective Ed. Gibson 
brought her to San Francisco, and in a few days an over- 
whelming amount of circumstantial evidence was piled up 
against her. 

She was positively identified by Miss Sylvia Heney and 
Miss Kittie Dittmer as the woman who, on July 31, bought 
candy in the candy store of George Haas under the Phelan 
block on Market street. Miss Heney furthermore swore that 
this woman requested that the candy be placed in a fancy 
box which did not have the firm's name on it, and also in- 
structed that the box be not filled completely as she had an- 
other article to place in the box. 

John P. Dunning produced love letters written to him 
by Mrs. Botkin, and handwriting expert Theodore Kytka tes- 
tified to what was obvious to all, namely, that the person who 
wrote the love letters wrote the address on the candy box and 
the note therein. 

Mrs. Botkin even neglected to remove the store tag from 
the handkerchief which she purchased in the "City of Paris" 
store from Mrs. Grace Harris, who even recalled the con- 
versation she held with Mrs. Botkin. When asked why she 
recalled this so clearly, she stated that Mrs. Botkin's resem- 
blance to her dead mother startled her. She subsequently pro- 
duced a photograph of her mother to show the striking resem- 

136 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Frank Grey, a druggist employed at the "Owl" drug store, 
positively identified Mrs. Botkin as the woman who had pur- 
chased two ounces of arsenic for the alleged purpose of bleach- 
ing a straw hat, and insisted upon getting this drug even 
when the druggist informed her that there were other prep- 
arations better adapted for the purpose. 

On August 4 the package of candy was mailed at the 
Ferry Postoflfice and was particularly noticed by a postal clerk 
named John Dunnigan because the address, "Mrs. John Dun- 
ning," reminded him of his own name. On this same day 
Mrs. Botkin left San Francisco for St. Helena. 

Mrs. Almura Ruoff related a conversation she had with 
Mrs. Botkin in Stockton on July 27, 1898, in which the latter 
made inquiries as to the effect of different poisons on the 
human system, and asked if it was necessary to sign one's 
name when sending a registered package through the mail. 

After Mrs. Botkin left the Hotel Victoria at Hyde and 
California streets, where she had been stopping some months, 
W. P. Rossello, a porter, and W. W. Barnes, a clerk, found a 
torn piece of a gilded seal, similar to those pasted on candy 
boxes, on the floor of room 26, which Mrs. Botkin vacated. 
It was proved that the seal came from Haas' store and the 
wrapping on the candy box clearly showed where it had been 

Extradition papers were forwarded from Delaware as it 
was planned to take her there for trial, but her attorney, George 
Knight, attempted to procure her release on the grounds that 
the evidence was insufficient, and furthermore, that the juris- 
diction for the trial was in California and not Delaware. 

Superior Judges Cook, Borden, Wallace, Troutt and Sea- 
well, sitting en banc, rendered a decision on October 23 to 
the effect that the jurisdiction for the trial was in California, 
as Mrs. Botkin's flight from Delaware was not actual but 
constructive. This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court. 

The evidence was presented to the Grand Jury and on 
October 28, 1898, Mrs. Botkin was indicted. On December 9, 
1898, the trial for the murder of Mrs. Dunning began. 

On December 19, while testifying in the case, John P. 

San Francisco Cases 137 

Dunning refused to mention the names of other women he 
had been intimate with, and he was adjudged guilty of con- 
tempt and sent to jail, where he remained for several days 
until the question was withdrawn. 

On December 30, 1898, Mrs. Botkin was found guilty and 
on February 4, 1899, she was sentenced to life imprisonment. 

On March 9 Mrs. Botkin's husband. Welcome A. Botkin, 
sued her for a divorce on the grounds that she had been con- 
victed of a felony. 

Before Mrs. Botkin could be sent to State prison, a de- 
cision was rendered by the State Supreme Court in the case of 
"Hoff," who murdered Mrs. Clute on Guerrero street, wherein 
it was decided that the trial Judge erred when, in his charge 
to the jury, he stated that "circumstantial evidence has the ad- 
vantage over direct evidence, because it is not likely to be 
fabricated." It was held that by so doing he expressed to 
the jury his opinion upon the force and effect of the testimony 
and intimated his views of its sufficiency. As the same form 
of charge was delivered in the Botkin and numerous other 
cases, she experienced no difficulty in obtaining a new trial. 

This necessitated the bringing of all the Delaware wit- 
nesses back to San Francisco. The second trial also resulted 
in a verdict of guilty and on August 2, 1904, she was again 
sentenced to life imprisonment, which judgment was affirmed 
by the State Supreme Court on October 29, 1908. 

After the conviction of Mrs. Botkin she was confined in 
the Branch County Jail, pending the decision from the higher 

About this time Superior Judge Cook lost his wife and 
each Sunday he visited her grave, riding out on a car which 
passed the jail. On one Sunday he was astonished at seeing 
Cordelia Botkin in the same car and apparently unguarded. 
The murderess signaled the car to stop at the county jail and 
she proceeded in the direction of that institution, but was lost 
to the Judge's view, as he remained on the car. 

The next day he. instituted an investigation. It was 
charged that the voluptuous woman was on intimate terms with 
one or more of the guards, which accounted for the fact that 

138 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

she was surrounded with every comfort at the jail. It was 
also charged that she was probably accompanied on the pleas- 
ure trip by a friendly guard who was on another part of the car. 

Judge Cook failed to find any one connected with the jail 
who would admit that the prisoner had been away from the 
building on Sunday, and the woman attempted to take ad- 
vantage of the situation by claiming that the person who re- 
sembled her so much that the trial judge was mistaken, was 
probably the person who purchased the arsenic, candy and 
handkerchief, but the claim v/as not seriously considered. 

After the great earthquake and fire the branch county 
jail, where Mrs, Botkin was confined, became crowded because 
of the destruction of the main jail, and as a result this woman 
lost the comfortable quarters she had enjoyed for years. 

Although the Supreme Court had not yet reached a de- 
cision in her case, she made application to be transferred to 
San Quentin State Prison, and the request was complied with 
on May 16, 1906. 

After her conviction her erstwhile lover, her mother, sister, 
son, and also her former husband, died within a short time. 

The prisoner became a victim of nervous prostration and 
was soon a physical wreck. During the latter part of 1909 
she began to suflfer from melancholy. In February, 1910, she 
applied for parole because of her health, but it was decided 
that she was not eligible. 

On March 7, 1910, she became unconscious and died. The 
death certificate shows that she died from "softening of the 
brain, due to melancholy." 

She was 56 years old at the time of her death. 

San Francisco Cases 139 


Eleanor Parline, better known as Nora Fuller, was born 
in China in 1886. 

In 1890 her father was an engineer on the Steamer Tai 
Wo. One night he was sitting asleep in a steamer chair on the 
deck of the vessel while at sea. Shortly after he was seen in 
this position his services were required in the engineroom, but 
when a helper was sent after him the chair was vacant, and 
Parline was never seen again. A year later Mrs. Parline mar- 
ried a man named W. W. Fuller, in San Francisco, but seven 
years later she obtained a divorce. 

As she had four small children, Mrs. Fuller experienced 
much trouble in getting along. In 1902 she lived at 1747 
Fulton street. At that time Nora, who was then fifteen years 
of age, decided to quit school and seek employment. 

On January 6 she wrote to a theatrical agency, and after 
stating that she had a fairly good soprano voice, asked for 
employment. Two days later the following advertisement 
appeared in the Chronicle and Examiner: 

"Wanted — Young white girl to take care of baby; good 
home and good wages." 

At the foot of the advertisement was a note directing any- 
one answering to address the communication in care of the 
paper the advertisement was found in. Nora Fuller answered 
it, and on Saturday, January 11, she received the following 
postal : 

' "Miss Fuller : In answer to yours in response to my 
advertisement, kindly call at the Popular restaurant, 55 Geary 
street, and inquire for Mr. John Bennett, at 1 o'clock. If 
you can't come at 1, come at 6. JOHN BENNETT." 

Mrs. Fuller sent Nora to the rendezvous, and the girl took 
the postal card with her. About one hour later Mrs. Fuller's 
telephone bell rang, and her twelve-year-old son answered. 

A nervous, irritable voice, which sounded some like 
Nora's, told him that the speaker was at the home of Mr. 

140 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Bennett, at 1500 Geary street, and her employer wanted her 
to go to work at once.* 

The boy called out the message to his mother, who in- 
structed him to tell Nora to come home and go to work 
Monday. The boy repeated the message, and the person at 
the other end said : "All right" ; but before any more could 
be said by the boy the receiver at the other end was hung up. 
Nora Fuller never came home. A few days later the dis- 
tracted mother notified the police. 

F. W. Krone, proprietor of the Popular restaurant, was 
questioned and he stated that about 5 :30 o'clock on the evening 
of January 11, a man who had been a patron of his place at 
different times during the past fifteen years, but whose name 
he had not up to that time heard, came to the counter and 
stated that he expected a young girl to inquire for John 
Bennett, and if she did to send her to the table where he was 

The girl did not appear, and Bennett, after waiting one- 
half hour, became restless and walked up and down the side- 
walk in front of the restaurant for several moments. He then 

This man was described as being about forty years of age, 
five feet nine inches high, weighing about 170 pounds, wearing 
a brown mustache, well dressed and refined appearing. 

A waiter employed at the Popular restaurant, who fre- 
quently waited on "Bennett," stated that the much-wanted man 
was a great lover of porterhouse steaks, but the fact that he 
only ate the tenderloin part of the steak earned for him the 
sobriquet of "Tenderloin." 

On January 16 lengthy articles were published in the 
papers in regard to the mysterious disappearance of the girl. 

On January 8 a man giving the name of C. B. Hawkins 
called at Umbsen & Co.'s real estate office, and, addressing 
a clerk named C. S. Lahenier, inquired for particulars regard- 
ing a two-story frame building for rent at 2211 Sutter street. 
The terms were satisfactory to Hawkins, but Lahenier asked 

*It was subsequently learned that 1500 Geary street was a 
vacant lot. 

San Francisco Cases 141 

the prospective tenant for references. He replied that he 
could give none, as he was a stranger in the city, but as he 
had a prepossessing appearance the clerk let him have the 
key after paying one month's rent in advance. The man then 
signed the name "C. B. Hawkins" to a contract. 

He stated that he was then stopping at the Golden West 
Hotel with his wife. The description of Hawkins was identi- 
cally the same as the description of Bennett. 

On the following day the real estate firm sent E. F. 
Bertrand, a locksmith and "handy man" in their employ, to the 
Sutter-street house to clean it up. 

Many days after this a collector for the firm named Fred 
Crawford reported that the house was still vacant — judging 
from outside appearances. He went to the Golden West Hotel 
to inquire for Hawkins, but he was not known there. 

On February 8 the month's rent was up, and a collector 
and inspector named H. E. Dean was sent to the house. 

Using a pass key he entered, but finding no furniture on 
the lower floor, he went upstairs, where he found the door to 
a back room closed. This he opened, but as the shade was 
down the room was in semi-darkness. He discerned a bright- 
colored garment on the floor, but as he seemed to know by 
intuition that something was wrong, he hurriedly left the 
building, and meeting Officer Gill requested him to accompany 
him back to the house. The officer entered the room, and upon 
raising the shade found the dead body of a young girl 
lying as if asleep in a bed. On the bed were two new sheets, 
which had never been laundered, a blanket and quilt. An old 
chair was the only other furniture in the house. Neither food 
nor dishes could be found. Nor was there any means of heat- 
ing or lighting the house, as the gas was not connected. 

The girl's clothing was in the bedroom, also her purse, 
which contained no money, but a card with the following in- 
scription thereon: 

"Mr. M. A. Severbrinik, of Port Arthur." 

(It was subsequently learned that this man sailed for 
China on the Peking three hours before Nora Fuller left home 
on January 11.) 

142 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

On the floor was the butt of a cigar, and on the mantle- 
piece in the front room was an almost empty whisky bottle. 
There were no toilet articles in the house except one towel. 

Many letters were found addressed to Mrs. C. B. Haw- 
kins, 2211 Sutter street. They were from furniture houses 
and contained either advertisements or solicitations for trade. 
A circular letter addressed to Mrs. Hawkins and bearing a 
postmark of January 21, 11 p. m., or ten days after the dis- 
appearance of Nora Fuller, had been opened by someone and 
then placed in the girl's jacket, which was found in the room. 
Mrs. Fuller identified the clothing as belonging to her daugh- 
ter, and subsequently identified the body as the remains of 
Nora. No trace was ever found of the postal card Nora 
received from Bennett. 

Dr. Charles Morgan, the city toxicologist, examined the 
stomach and found no traces of drugs or poisons. Save for 
an apple, which the deceased had evidently eaten about one 
or two hours before death, the stomach was empty. 

There was a slight congestion of the stomach, possibly 
due' to partaking of some alcoholic drink when the stomach 
was not accustomed to it. Mrs. Fuller stated that Nora ate 
an apple shortly before she left home on January 11. 

Dr. Bacigalupi, the autopsy surgeon, found two black 
marks on the throat, one on each side of the larynx, and as 
there was a slight congestion of the lungs, he concluded that 
death was due to strangulation. But the child had been other- 
wise assaulted and her body frightfully mutilated, evidently 
by a degenerate. Captain of Detectives John Seymour took 
charge of the case. 

B. T. Schell, a salesman at J. C. Cavanaugh's furniture 
store, located at 848 Mission street, stated that at 5 p. m., 
January 9, a man of the same description as "Hawkins" or 
"Bennett," and wearing a high silk hat, called and said that 
he wanted to furnish a room temporarily. He purchased two 
second-hand pillows, a pair of blankets, a comforter and top 
mattress. He insisted that the goods be delivered at night or 
not at all. This Schell promised to do. The customer then 
wanted to know what assurance he had that the salesman 

San Francisco Cases 143 

would not substitute another mattress, and Schell suggested 
that he put his initials on the mattress as a means of identi- 
fication. Acting on this suggestion Hawkins used a large 
heavy pencil and wrote the letters "C. B. H." on the mattress. 
After leaving word to deliver the articles that night to 2211 
Sutter street the man departed. 

Lawrence C. Gillen, the delivery boy for this firm, stated 
that he had to work overtime in order to take the articles to 
the Sutter street house that night. 

When he arrived the house was in darkness. He rang 
the bell and a man came to the door, and from what he could 
see with the lights from the street lamps he was of the same 
description as the man who made the purchases, and he wore 
a silk hat. Gillen asked him to light up so he could see, but 
he said, "Never mind, leave the things in the hall." 

Richard Fitzgerald, a salesman employed at the Standard 
Furniture Company, 745 Mission street, stated that a man of 
"Bennett's" description bought a bed and an old chair from 
him on January 10, and that he engaged an expressman, Tom 
Tobin, to deliver the same to 2211 Sutter street. 

Tobin stated that this man was present when he arrived, 
and requested him to set up the bed in the room where it was 
found. This man he described as being of Bennett's appear- 

It is probable that the sheets, towel and pillow cases were 
purchased at Mrs. Mahoney's dry goods store, 92 Third street, 
which was just around the corner from the Standard Furni- 
ture Company. These articles were carried away by the pur- 

On the floor of the room where the girl's body was found 
was a small piece of the Denver Post of January 9, upon 
which was a mailing label addressed to the office of the Rail- 
road Employees' Journal, 210 Parrott building. 

When this paper arrived at the Parrott building it was 
given by Exchange Editor Scott to a Mr. Hurlburt, a dele- 
gate from Denver to a railroadmen's convention then in ses- 
sion in the assemblyroom in the Parrott building. After 
glancing at it he threw it on a large table, and some other 

144 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

delegate picked it up and took it to Dennett's restaurant, 
where he left it on the dining table. The steward of the res- 
taurant, Mr. Helbish, picked it up, and after taking it to the 
counter began to read it, believing it was the San Francisco 
Post. He laid it down, and Miss Drysdale, the cashier, glanced 
over it. She laid it down, and how it got to 2211 Sutter street 
remains a mystery. 

A seventeen-year-old girl named Madge Graham met 
Nora Fuller in June, 1901, and they became very friendly. 
Madge boarded at Nora's house for a while until her guardian. 
Attorney Edward Steams, requested her to move away, be- 
cause a lawyer named Hugh Grant was a frequent visitor at 
the Fuller home. 

She claimed that Nora Fuller frequently spoke to her of 
having a friend named Bennett, also she believed that the ad- 
vertisement was a trick concocted by Nora and "Bennett" to 
deceive Mrs. Fuller. 

She furthermore stated that Nora often telephoned to 
some man, and that one day Nora requested her to tell Mrs. 
Fuller that she and Nora were going to the theater that night. 
Madge did as requested, but she stated that instead of going 
with her, Nora went with some man. It was also claimed 
that someone gave Nora complimentary press tickets to the 

A. Menke, who conducted a grocery at Golden Gate and 
Central avenues, stated that Nora Fuller frequently used his 
telephone to call up someone at a hotel, although she had a 
telephone in her own home a few blocks away. 

Theodore Kytka, the handwriting expert, made an exam- 
ination of the original slips filled out by "Bennett" for his 
advertisement for a young girl, and also the signature of "C. 
B. Hawkins" to the contract when he rented the house, and 
found both were written by the same person. 

On February 19 the Coroner's jury rendered the follow- 
ing verdict: 

"That the said Nora Fuller, aged fifteen, nativity China, 
residence 1747 Fulton street, came to her death at 2211 Sutter 
street in the City and County of San Francisco, through 

San Francisco Cases 145 

asphyxiation by strangling on a day subsequent to January 
11 and before February 4, 1902, at the hands of parties un- 
known. Furthermore we believe that she died within twenty- 
four hours after 12 m., January 11. In view of the heinousness 
of the crime, we recommend that the Governor offer a reward 
of $5,000 for the discovery and apprehension of the criminal. 

"ACHILLE ROSS, Foreman." 

Believing that the person who committed this crime might 
have changed his address and sent a written notification to 
that effect to the postal authorities, Theodore Kytka exam- 
ined 32,000 notifications of changes of address. Of this num- 
ber he found three signatures that bore considerable resem- 
blance to the Bennett-Hawkins style of penmanship, and one 
of these three was almost identically the same. 

This proved to be the signature of a man in Kansas City, 
Mo., and Captain Seymour went east to make a personal in- 
vestigation. It was found, however, that the man had nothing 
to do with the crime. 

On January 16, five days after the disappearance of Nora 
Fuller, but three weeks before her fate was known, the papers 
of San Francisco gave considerable space to the mysterious 
case. Two days later a gentleman connected with a local 
paper notified the police department that a clerk in their 
employ named Charles B. Hadley had disappeared. It was 
afterward said that he was short in his accounts with his 

Detective Charles Cody was detailed to locate the man, 
and he found that he had lived at 647 Ellis street with a girl 
born and raised in San Francisco, who had assumed the name 
of Ollie Blasier, because of her infatuation for a notorious 
character known as "Kid" Blasier. 

No trace of Hadley was found. Finally the body of Nora 
Fuller was discovered, and photographs of the signature of 
"C. B. Hawkins" on the contract with Umbsen & Co., and 
the "C. B. H." on the mattress, were published in all the 

The Blasier woman had a photograph of Hadley in her 
room, upon the back of which he had written his name, "C. B. 

146 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Hadley." Seeing the great similarity in the handwriting she 
delivered this to Detective Cody, who in turn delivered it to 
Theodore Kytka for investigation. 

Kytka determined at once that the person who wrote "C. 
B. Hadley" on the photograph also wrote "C. B. H." on the 
mattress, and "C. B. Hawkins" on the contract. 

While Hadley had the same general physique as "Haw- 
kins," it was known that he was always clean shaven. Miss 
Blaiser stated, however, that she had seen Hadley wear a false 
brown mustache about the house, and it was subsequently 
learned that he purchased one at a Japanese store on Larkin 

In addition to this, Chief of Police Langley, of Victoria, 
B. C, made an affidavit to the effect that a Mr. Marsden, a 
storekeeper in Victoria, B. C, had stated that he had been a 
companion of Hadley's, and that while out on a "lark" he had 
seen Hadley wear a false mustache. Miss Blasier made a 
further statement substantially as follows : 

"I now recall that after the disappearance of Nora Fuller 
Hadley made a practice of getting up early in the morning 
and taking the morning paper to the toilet to read. 

"On the day of his final disappearance he followed this 
practice, and after he left the house I found the morning 
paper in the toilet, and I noticed a long article about the dis- 
appearance of Nora Fuller. It was evident that his mind 
was greatly disturbed on this morning. 

"The next day I was making up my laundry, and at the 
very bottom of the pile of soiled clothing I found some of his 
garments which had blood on them. I burned them and also 
his plug hat. 

"It is well known that Hadley is partial to porterhouse 
steaks and that he eats only the tenderloin. 

"On the evening of January 16, Hadley telephoned to me 
that he would not be home. I confess that I suspect he com- 
mitted this murder." 

Theodore Kytka obtained Hadley's photograph and altered 
it by giving him the appearance of wearing a mustache and 

San Francisco Cases 147 

plug hat. This was shown to different persons who had deal- 
ings with "Hawkins," with the following results : 

Tobin, the expressman, said it looked very much like him ; 
Lahenier, the real estate man, said it bore a marked resem- 
blance. Ray Zertanna, who had seen Nora in the park with a 
man, stated that the picture was a good likeness of this man. 
Schell, who suggested that "Hawkins" place his initials on 
the mattress, said it was an exact likeness of Hawkins. Fred 
Krone, the restaurant man, who had the conversation with 
"Bennett" on the evening Nora left home, said it was not a 
likeness of Bennett. 

Hadley left his money in a certain bank in this city, where 
it remains even now. 

An investigation was then made as to his past, and it 
developed that he was an habitue of the tenderloin district, and 
that he was on the road to degeneracy. His true name was 
Charlie Start, and his respected mother resided in Chicago. 

On May 6, 1889, Superintendent of Police Brackett, of 
Minneapolis, issued a circular letter offering $100 reward for 
the arrest of Charles Start for embezzlement. 

About two years before the murder of Nora Fuller, Had- 
ley enticed a fifteen-year-old girl into a room and outraged 
her. He then purchased diamonds and jewelry from a certain 
large jewelry store in San Francisco and gave them to the girl, 
who is now a respectable married woman residing in the 
neighborhood of San Francisco. 

The country was flooded with circulars accusing Hadley 
of this murder and calHng for his apprehension, but he was 
never located. 

Many believe that he committed suicide. 

148 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


In 1882 Leon Soeder came to America from Germany. He 
was by occupation a cook. Under the name of Leon Seter, 
he committed a burglary in Alameda County, for which he 
was sentenced to serve three years in San Quentin in October, 

On January 29, 1894, Officer Martin Tannian arrested 
him for burglarizing Johnson's Restaurant in San Francisco, 
for which he was sent to San Quentin for three years. 

About 1901, he married Miss Pilar Mirander, of Peta- 
luma. They went to Tesla, Cal., where he procured employ- 
ment as a cook, and his wife worked as a waitress. Several 
dogs died from poison in the town while Soeder was there 
and it was afterwards learned that Soeder had been using the 
dogs in experimental work. 

Soeder and his wife left Tesla in December, 1902, and 
returned to Petaluma where Soeder had his wife's life insured 
for $2000.00. She died shortly afterward under the most 
suspicious circumstances, but for some reason no investigation 
was made. 

A few days after his wife's death, Soeder proposed mar- 
riage to Miss Lillian Justi of the same town. Shortly after 
this the restaurant which he was conducting in Petaluma 
burned down. On this property he had $2000.00 insurance, 
being far more than its value. 

In March, 1903, Soeder met Miss Katherine Flatley at 
her home, 251 Marshall street, San Francisco. She was a 
young woman of attractive appearance, and Soeder presented 
jewelry to her valued at several hundred dollars. 

On April 18, 1903, he left for Alaska, returning to San 
Francisco on September 15 of the same year. On October 16 
he left for Germany, telling Miss Flatley that the object of his 
visit was to obtain $10,000.00 as a part of his interest in an 

On October 24, he sent her a telegram from New York 

San Francisco Cases 149 

stating that he had been robbed, and requesting that she 
forward $100.00, which was done. He proceeded to Germany, 
and after much persuasion, induced his sister's husband, Jos. 
Blaise, a lumberman, to accompany him to this country, and 
he also endeavored to induce his own brother to make the trip. 

When they reached New York, about December 1, Soeder 
at once attempted to procure an insurance policy on Blaise's 
life for $5000.00, but as there seemed to be considerable delay, 
he lost patience and brought Blaise to San Francisco, arriving 
here on December 13. On December 26, Soeder wrote to 
Miss Flatley announcing his arrival in San Francisco, and in- 
forming her that he was sick and desired her to call. He 
concluded the letter by promising to make her additional 
presents as soon as his "fortune" arrived. 

She ignored this letter, and on December 29 he again 
wrote, reprimanding her for not calling. 

On January 11, 1904, Wm. Hogan, a laborer, was passing 
along Taylor street, between Green and Vallejo, where he 
found a man lying at the bottom of a cliff, and on close in- 
spection it was found that the man was dead. There was a 
cut on the back of his head and on the right side of the throat 
was a deep knife wound. His pockets were turned inside out, 
but this had been so thoroughly done, that it was suspected 
the object of doing so was to create the false impression that 
the motive for the crime was robbery. Soeder and Blaise 
roomed together at the residence of Jos. Neibias at 827 Jack- 
son street, and on the following morning Soeder told the 
landlord that Blaise had not been home that night and as he 
had $90.00 in his pockets, he feared foul play. 

Soeder reported the matter at police headquarters, where 
he was advised to visit the morgue to view the body of the 
murdered man. He immediately identified the body as that of 
his brother-in-law, and affected much grief. 

Shortly afterward, when it was learned that Soeder was 
an ex-convict and had a heavy insurance on his brother-in- 
law's life, he was taken into custody. 

Detective Tom Gibson was assigned to the case and in 
Soeder's rooms he found a knife, on which was human blood. 

150 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Gripman Chas. Vose, on the Union Street line, stated that 
he had carried Blaise on his car about 8:30 p. m. January 10, 
and that he left the car at Union and Taylor streets, where 
Blaise met a man standing by the street lamp who resembled 

Three policies issued by the Pacific Life Insurance Co. 
were found in Soeder's possession. Each was for three thou- 
sand dollars. 

One was a policy taken out by Blaise in which his wife 
was made beneficiary, in the second Soeder was the bene- 
ficiary, and the third was taken out by Soeder and made pay- 
able to Blaise. Subsequent investigation showed that Soeder 
had taken advantage of Blaise's ignorance of the English lan- 
guage and had his name inserted as beneficiary when Blaise 
understood that both policies were made payable to his wife. 
On December 23, Soeder attempted to procure a $10,000.00 
accident policy for Blaise, but was informed that as Blaise 
represented himself to be a cook, he could only procure 
$3000.00. Soeder showed outward signs of displeasure. He 
then attempted to procure a $10,000.00 life insurance policy 
from the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co. on Blaise, but as 
J. M. Kilgarif, the manager, doubted his ability to keep up 
payments, he would only write a $3000.00 policy. Soeder 
wanted to pay up for only three months, but the company 
forced him to pay for one year. 

On December 16, 1903, Soeder pawned a watch and 
diamond ring for $130.00 in order to obtain sufficient money 
to pay the premiums on Blaise's policies. 

Soeder afterward asked Dr. W. G. Mizner, who was 
connected with the company, why he was questioned so closely 
by the officials, to which the doctor replied : "Oh, they thought 
you wanted to do away with Blaise." Soeder replied: "Oh, 
no; we were schoolmates and he married my sister." While 
awaiting trial in the Superior Court, his cellmate was John 
Cooper, who was in custody on a charge of forgery. 

Cooper subsequently testified that Soeder told him that he 
expected $1000.00 from Germany, and that he would give 
Cooper one-half if he could procure witnesses who could swear 

San Francisco Cases 151 

that he, Soeder, was in another part of the city at the time 
the crime was committed. Cooper produced a piece of the 
San Francisco Examiner upon which Soeder drew a diagram 
indicating the spot where the murder was committed. 

On the diagram he wrote names of streets, etc. Soeder 
had previously stated that he had never been near the scene 
of the killing, but this diagram was drawn with such ac- 
curacy that it would have been impossible for a stranger to 
the surroundings to have drawn it. 

After drawing the diagram, Soeder, according to Cooper, 
admitted that he had committed the murder and that he first 
struck Blaise with a shovel. 

Theodore Kytka, the handwriting expert, proved that the 
writing on the diagram was done by Soeder. 

The defendant also confessed to the murder of his wife. 
The case was submitted to the jury on May 23, 1904. After 
deliberating for twenty minutes, they returned a verdict of 

Soeder was hanged on March 29, 1907. 

152 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On the night of October 11, 1905, a man was found in 
a semi-conscious condition in the neighborhood of 2214 Ells- 
worth street, Berkeley, Cal. His head and face were covered 
with blood. It was soon learned that he was a man known 
as "Friday" Ellis, formerly a famous steeplechase rider in 
England and Australia, who earned his sobriquet because of 
a sensational ride he made on a horse called "Friday." Ellis 
was afterward suspended from the track for "pulling" horses, 
but he finally became a bookmaker on the Kensington race- 
track in Australia. 

In August, 1905, he "welched" (refused to pay off bets) 
and took the next steamer for America. On that trip he was 
accompanied by a man and woman known as Mr. and Mrs. 
Brush, also known as Curtis, whom he met at the race-track. 
Brush was an expert poker-player. 

When Ellis recovered he made the following statement 
regarding his experience with Brush: 

"We arrived in San Francisco on October 2, 1905, and a 
few days later we moved to a cottage at 2214 Ellsworth street, 

"The first night I spent in the house convinced me that 
something was wrong, as I noticed Brush and his wife hold- 
ing whispered conversations when they imagined they were 
not observed. So uneasy did I become that I spent a sleepless 
night, and the next day I moved away. 

"After much persuasion, Brush induced me to call on 
October 11. While sitting at the table eating marmalade, he 
struck me on the head with a hammer. I fell and he robbed 
me of $500. I recovered slightly while he was robbing me 
and, struggling to my feet, I gave him battle. At this moment 

San Francisco Cases 153 

the woman presented a pistol at my head and I staggered out 
of the house, but after traveling a short distance I fell from 
loss of blood." 

The officers made a search of the premises which plainly 
showed where the assault was committed, but no trace could 
be found of Brush or his "wife." 

Ellis gave a good description of his assailants and added 
that Brush had told him that he once had a row with a woman 
near Colorado Springs but that he fixed her all right. 

Officer W. E. Atchison of Berkeley then looked up the 
records and learned the following facts: 

On December 16, 1904, two men found the badly decom- 
posed body of a young woman on Mount Cutler, Colorado. 
A bullet wound in the back of the head showed that murder 
had been committed and, to prevent identification, the assassin 
had built a bonfire and thrown the body into it, but the fire 
went out after the face had been burned so that identification 
was impossible. All the jewelry was removed from the body. 

The young woman had evidently been dead for months, 
and as there was no report of any missing woman in that 
locality it was concluded that the victim was probably one of 
the thousands of tourists from all over the world who visit 
the neighborhood of Colorado Springs. 

An examination of the mouth showed that a great amount 
of dental work had been done, including bridge work, gold 
teeth, etc. An elaborate diagram of this work was drawn by 
a dentist and a photograph of the diagram placed on circulars, 
which were sent to every Chief of Police in the country with 
the request that every dentist in each city or town be shown 
the diagram. 

Finally the dentist who did the work was located and he 
stated that it was done for a Mrs. Bessie Bouton, wife of an 
electrician in Syracuse, New York, named George Bouton, It 
was said that she had traveled about the country as the wife 
of Milton F. Andrews, a professional gambler, who had a wife 
living in Holyoke, Mass., whom he deserted after stealing 
her money and jewelry. Andrews was seen with Mrs. Bouton 

154 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

near where the body was found and he suddenly disappeared 
on October 5, 1904. 

Upon getting this evidence Chief Reynolds of Colorado 
Springs procured a good photograph of Andrews, a copy of 
which appeared on circulars which were sent to all police de- 

Andrews, who was 6 feet 3 inches high, had a very nar- 
row, deformed chest, and because of stomach trouble was com- 
pelled to subsist almost entirely on malted milk. 

Officer Atchison found this circular and when he read the 
description and showed the picture to Ellis, the latter ex- 
claimed: "That's the man who tried to kill me." 

Great publicity was given to the case, especially to the 
fact that the desperate fugitive consumed large quantities of 
malted milk. The description of both Brush and his wife were 
also published. 

In October, 1905, Mrs. M. Hornbeck conducted a little 
grocery and bakery at No. 743 McAllister street, San Fran- 
cisco. She gained the patronage of a dark-haired and myste- 
rious-acting young woman, who purchased large quantities of 
malted milk. Suddenly this woman bleached her hair and be- 
gan wearing smoked glasses. Mrs. Hornbeck had not fol- 
lowed the papers closely and therefore did not realize the sig- 
nificance of these circumstances. 

The mysterious woman continued to trade at the store, 
and three weeks later Mrs. Hornbeck casually mentioned the 
circumstance to Detectives M. V. Burke and Fred Smith. They 
trailed the woman to the residence of Jas. Meagher, No. 748 
McAllister street. As it was learned that Meagher could be 
trusted, the officers confided their suspicions to him and asked 
about the woman. He laughed at them and said that she was 
a Miss Eda Little from Sacramento and that he could almost 
swear that she alone occupied her room, as no one in his house, 
which was a private home, had ever seen or heard anyone else 
there. Mr. Meagher's family were equally positive on this 

But the officers were not satisfied and Detectives Tom 
Gibson and John Freel were detailed on the case. 

San Francisco Cases 155 

Detective Burke posed as the owner of the property, and 
Meagher, who rendered every assistance, went to Miss Little's 
room and told her the landlord wanted to look at the gas 

After some hesitation the girl opened the door. The offi- 
cer looked at the gas fixtures and also looked around the room. 
Seeing nothing to indicate that the woman had a companion, 
he stepped outside, but when he did so the woman seemed to 
be so anxious to get the door closed and bolted that it aroused 
the officer's suspicions. He conferred with his brother officers, 
who were concealed in the hallway, and they immediately asked 
her to open the door again. This she refused to do. The 
officers then told her who they were and warned her that if 
she did not open the door, they would break it. She replied: 
"If you do I will kill you." 

Just then two shots rang out. The officers burst in the 
door and found the dead bodies of a young man and woman, 
each having a bullet wound in the forehead. It was evident 
that the man had fired both shots and that he was concealed 
in a clothes-closet when the officer first entered. 

It was seen at a glance that they answered the description 
of Andrews and his companion, who proved to be Nulda Olivia. 

In the girl's stocking was a lengthy confession written by 
Andrews. In reference to his assault on Ellis he said : 

"I sat him at the dinner-table and tried to comb some of 
the treachery out of his brain with a hammer. I did not know 
at the time that he had a gorilla's skull or I would have used 
a pile-driver." 

Afterward the detectives obtained evidence amounting al- 
most to proof that on August 2, 1904, Andrews murdered 
Eugene J. Bosworth at New Britain, Conn., crushing his vic- 
tim's skull and robbing him of several hundred dollars and a 
diamond ring. 

Jewelry found in the room was subsequently identified as 
the property of Mrs. Bouton, who was murdered on Mount 

156 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


At 10:30 p. m. on April 5, 1905, George J. Oliva of 3.>4 
August place was standing at the corner of Mason and Vallejo 
streets, when a man passed him who was carrying a heavy and 
bulky bundle done up in a woman's shawl. When about one 
hundred feet past Oliva, the man dropped the bundle and 
hastened away. 

More curious than suspicious, Oliva leisurely strolled to 
where the package was thrown, and upon opening it he was 
horrified to find the trunk of a man, the head, arms and legs 
having been amputated. His cry for help caused Charles 
Torre of 1821 Dupont street and John Copertini of 730 Vallejo 
street to respond. They in turn called Officer William Minihan, 
who discovered that the body was still warm and that the blood 
had not as yet congealed. Appearances indicated that the 
body had probably been mutilated with an ax. It was taken to 
the Morgue and a search was instituted for the head and limbs. 

At 4:30 p. m. on April 6, Joseph Lanteri and three other 
small boys were playing at the water's edge near Fisherman's 
wharf at the foot of Mason street, when they noticed a barley 
sack floating in the water. They pulled it ashore and untied a 
blue sock which was fastened around the mouth of the sack. 
When the boys found that the sack contained the head, evi- 
dently of a young Italian, and both arms and legs, they uttered 
a cry of horror. 

The sack and its contents were removed to the Morgue, 
where it was seen at a glance that the head and limbs be- 
longed to the trunk found on the preceding day. 

On the following evening, at 8 :45 o'clock, Crispino Vilardo 
of 1762 Harrison street called at the Morgue and identified the 
remains as those of his half-brother, Biaggio Vilardo, a native 
of Palermo, Sicily, who had been in America twenty-three 
months. Crispino stated that the murdered man was an in- 
timate friend of one Brogardo, who was murdered on January 
21, 1905, and that he was extremely active in the prosecution 

San Francisco Cases 157 

of Brogardo's assassins. Crispino appeared to be so terror- 
stricken that he hesitated some time before stating positively 
that the mutilated remains were those of his brother, and after 
doing so he became hysterical. When he regained his com- 
posure, he stated that Biaggio had lived at 736)4 Green street, 
with Pietro Tortorici and his wife and baby. 

The detectives went to the house, where the Tortorici 
family had rooms in the basement. A casual glance convinced 
them that the kitchen was the scene of the butchery. The 
floor, walls and ceiling were bespattered with blood, and under 
the sink was found a blood-stained cleaver upon which were 
some small particles of bone that were broken in the uncouth 
dissecting process. 

The detectives concealed themselves in the house, in the 
hope that the occupants would return. About daylight on the 
following morning, Mrs. Rose Tortorici came in with her baby. 
She was immediately taken to headquarters, and after a long 
cross-examination made the following statement: 

"I have known Biaggio Vilardo for about one year. I 
believe he was murdered by my husband, but not through 
jealousy, as I was not friendly with Vilardo, and if my hus- 
band suspected I was not true he would have killed me. On 
Wednesday evening (the night of the murder) I cooked dinner 
and then took my baby into the garden (Washington Square). 
When I returned about 9 :30 p. m., something told me that all 
was not well, and I asked my husband where Vilardo was, 
and he replied : 'Woman, mind your own business.' He then 
went out and I went to bed. He did not come home that 
night, so the next morning I was afraid to stay in the house 
and I went to some friends at 1611 Powell street, where I 
remained until I returned to my home and was arrested. I 
have not seen my husband since the night of the murder." 

An examination of the dead man's stomach showed that 
he had been murdered almost immediately after he ate a meal. 
Several Italians were arrested on suspicion, but were subse- 
quently released without being charged. 

Although there was very little evidence against Mrs. 
Tortorici she was indicted, as an attorney had attempt^ed to 

■ ■': 1: ^ 

158 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

procure her release on a writ of habeas corpus. On May 29 
her case was called in the Superior Court, but owing to the 
insufficiency of the evidence the case never came to trial and 
she was permitted to go to the home of her mother in New 
Orleans. Tortorici was never apprehended. 


In 1889, Miss Martha Byers, daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth 
Byers, a highly esteemed lady residing in Portland, Oregon, 
married an elderly man named Dale. After being married one 
year she procured a divorce and shortly afterward married 
Alfred Allen. She only remained with him a short time when 
she procured a divorce, and in 1902 she married Martin L. 
Bowers, a bridge builder, residing in San Francisco. They 
lived at 370 Clementina street, and on June 5, 1903, Dr. Carl 
Von Tiedemann was called in to prescribe for Bowers. Mrs. 
Bowers gave him a history of the case, and stated that she 
attributed his sickness to ptomain poisoning caused by eating 
some ham. The doctor made a diagnosis and treated the 
patient for that affliction, but because of a misunderstanding 
with Mrs. Bowers over financial matters, he dropped the case. 
Dr. J. F. Dillon was the next physician called, and from in- 
formation received he also concluded that the patient was suf- 
fering from ptomain poisoning, and prescribed accordingly. 
After a few visits the patient apparently improved and he 
ceased to call. 

A few days afterward Bowers became very weak and Dr. 
A. McLaughlin was called in. After hearing Mrs. Bowers' 
statements, he agreed with the other physicians, but insisted 
that the patient be removed to the Waldeck Sanitarium forth- 
with. Although the doctor was greatly puzzled by some of the 
peculiar symptoms of his patient, still his suspicions were not 
aroused as Bowers, after a month's treatment, was convalescent, 
and at the earnest solicitation of his wife, he was removed to his 

San Francisco Cases 159 

home. The doctor instructed Mrs. ,Bowers to give her husband 
massage treatments daily, and about a week afterward he called 
at their home and learned that his instructions had not been 
obeyed. On examining Bowers, he became alarmed at his con- 
dition and ordered him removed to the German Hospital forth- 
with. Bowers sank rapidly and passed away on August 25, 
1903. As soon as he was pronounced dead, the widow threw 
herself on his body and became "hysterical." 

Harry Bowers, who was the brother of the dead man, 
and who knew something of Mrs. Bowers' character, con- 
cluded that "something was wrong." He therefore com- 
municated with the coroner and demanded an investigation, 
with the result that the dead man's stomach was turned over 
to City Chemist Frank Green and Dr. Chas. Morgan, a tox- 
icologist, for analysis. In their report they stated that they 
found four grains of arsenic undissolved and they furthermore 
ridiculed the theory that Bowers died from ptomain poison 
through eating ham, for the reason that the ham would not 
carry ptomains because of the fact the salt and creosote used 
in curing it would tend to destroy the poison. 

This report was given great publicity and the question 
arose as to who administered the poison and where and how 
it was procured. 

The answer, in part at least, was furnished by a druggist 
named J. C. Peterson, who was employed at Fifth and Clemen- 
tina streets. He described a woman who called at his store 
on the afternoon of August 20 with a prescription purporting 
to be signed by Dr. A. McLaughlin, which simply called for 
"arsenic." As it was not written on a physician's blank and 
as the amount of arsenic to be furnished was not specified, it 
naturally caused the clerk to ask the woman several questions 
and pay particular attention to her appearance. 

The description did not fit Mrs. Bowers, but it did fit 
her sister, Mrs. Zylpha Sutton, and upon being brought be- 
fore her, the druggist immediately identified her. 

The prescription was then procured and it showed where 
the druggist had written on the original the amount of arsenic 

i6o Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Upon searching Mrs. Bowers' home, a composition book 
belonging to a school boy named John Baptiste was discovered, 
and the page was found from which the paper used in writing 
the prescription was torn. 

In the same book were indited a number of songs, ad- 
mitted to be in the chirography of Mrs. Bowers. Theodore 
Kitka, the handwriting expert, swore that the person who 
wrote the songs also wrote the prescription on which Dr. Mc- 
Laughlin's name was forged. It was also proven that her 
mourning robes were prepared before her husband died and 
to prove that her heart was "bursting with grief" when she 
threw herself on her husband's corpse immediately after death, 
she was afterwards forced to admit that she proceeded to her 
home within two hours after he died and then began a two-day 
carousal with one Patrick Leary. 

Notwithstanding the fact that this man was illiterate and 
of repulsive appearance, Mrs. Bowers was undoubtedly in- 
fatuated with him and it was the theory of the prosecution that 
her motive for killing her husband was to free herself from a 
man who had become obnoxious because of his strenuous ob- 
jections to Leary's attentions to her. ! 

Detective Sergeant Thos. Ryan and District Attorney By- 
ington had charge of the case, and as soon as the evidence 
began to accumulate against Mrs. Bowers, she and her sister, 
Mrs. Sutton, were placed under police surveillance. On Au- 
gust 28 they were arrested and subsequently charged with the 
murder of Bowers. At the conclusion of the preliminary ex- 
amination Mrs. Sutton was released because of insufficiency 
of evidence, but Mrs. Bowers' trial began on January 14, and 
she was found guilty of murder on January 20, 1904. On 
February 14 she was sentenced to life imprisonment. 

San Francisco Cases i6i 


An article appeared in the San Francisco papers of April 
24, 1905, to the effect that George D. Collins, the brilliant 
attorney from San Francisco, had on the day previous married 
Miss Clarice McCurdy at a hotel in Chicago. Miss McCurdy 
was the daughter of Mrs. S. A. McCurdy, a wealthy widow 
residing in Stockton. A few days afterward, Collins returned 
to San Francisco with his bride and mother-in-law and secured 
apartments at the Palace Hotel. 

William Newman, a member of the Fire Department, 
appeared before the Grand Jury about this time, and stated 
that if Collins had actually married Clarice McCurdy he was 
guilty of bigamy, as he had married his sister, Charlotta New- 
man, on May 15, 1889, and that Father M. D. Connelly per- 
formed the ceremony. 

Attorney Thomas E. Curran and Florence Newman, who 
were present at the ceremony, corroborated this statement. 
On May 13, 1905, Collins was indicted for bigamy. In his 
defense, Collins replied that he had married Agnes Newman 
on the day in question, but that through a clerical error the 
license was made in the name of Charlotte Newman, the sister. 
Agnes died in May, 1901, and Collins had a plate put on her 
casket bearing the name of "Agnes Collins." He claimed that 
he had left his three children in the care of his sister-in-law, 
Charlotte Newman, who was merely his housekeeper. 

In answer to this, Charlotte laid bare the remarkable story 
of her life, which is as follows : 

"I was married to George D. Collins on May 15, 1889, and 
five children were born to us. On April 8, 1890, our son 
George was born; on September 28, 1892, Consuela was born; 
on September 28, 1897, May was born. In 1893 a child was 
born which died two days afterward, and on April 1, 1895, 
another child was born which lived only two days. My sister 
Agnes lived in the same house with us. In the early part of 


1 62 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

1891, Agnes confessed to me that she expected to become a 
mother and that my husband was responsible for her condi- 
tion. She furthermore said that if I turned her from the house 
she would commit suicide. I protected her, and she went into 
seclusion and none of our relatives knew of her condition. In 
May, 1891, she gave birth to a little girl at St. Mary's Hospital. 
To protect my sister's name, I represented myself to be the 
mother of the child and Agnes continued to live with us. 

"This child was named Susan, and in May, 1901, she con- 
tracted diphtheria, from which she died on the 13th inst. 
Agnes was again in a delicate condition, and she was stricken 
with the ailment from which Susan died. While in bed suffer- 
ing from this disease she gave birth to another child, and both 

"It is true that the words 'Agnes Collins' were engraved 
on the plate of the casket, but Mr. Collins claimed the mistake 
was due to the stupidity of the engraver and that it was too 
late to have it rectified. 

"Mr. Collins has lived at our home, 2519 Pierce street, 
right up to the time that he went East to marry Miss McCurdy, 
and since his return he spent one night with me and assured 
me that there was no truth in the report that he had again 

After the death of Agnes Newman, Collins obtained the 
money she had deposited in the Hibernia Bank, on the repre- 
sentation that he was her husband. The attorneys for the 
bank began disbarment proceedings against him for this act 
and there was some talk of charging him with obtaining money 
by false pretenses. 

The McCurdys believed Collins innocent and rendered 
him every assistance. Collins conducted his own defense, and 
endeavored to prove that the San Francisco courts lacked juris- 
diction and that the trial should properly take place in Illinois. 
This point being decided against him, he endeavored to prove 
that the Grand Jury which indicted him was not a legalized 
inquisitorial organization. Neither was this point well taken. 

While in the midst of his battle, Charlotta Collins sued 
him on May 26, 1905, for $200 per month for the support of 

San Francisco Cases 163 

herself and children. In answer to this suit, Collins swore that 
he had never married Charlotta. 

His trial began in June, 1905, and the work of impaneling 
a jury was in progress when, on the morning of June 12, he 
failed to appear. 

An investigation disclosed the fact that a character known 
as "Bogie O'Donnell," who had a contract for carrying morn- 
ing newspapers across the bay on a launch, had also taken 
Collins across. He was subsequently traced to Victoria, B. C. 
Under the treaty of extradition between this country and 
Canada, bigamy is not an extraditable offense, which undoubt- 
edly accounted for Collins' actions. But as he swore in the 
civil suit that he was not the husband of Charlotta Newman, 
he was indicted for perjury and extradition papers were issued. 

Detective Tom Gibson was sent after him, and after a legal 
battle lasting over three months, Collins was returned on Oc- 
tober 24, 1905, and was placed on trial for perjury. During 
this trial he testified that he had never married Charlotta New- 
man, and for this he was again indicted for perjury on De- 
cember 29, 1905. 

The charge of bigamy and the former charge of perjury 
were then dropped, and he was tried on the last indictment, 
found guilty, and on March 10, 1906, he was sentenced to serve 
fourteen years in State Prison. 

As Collins contended that he could not legally be tried 
for any crime other than the one for which he was extra- 
dited, he appealed to the State Supreme Court and to the 
Federal Circuit Court, but the trial court was sustained in both 

Collins was undoubtedly one of the most resourceful 
lawyers in California and while in the County Jail he devoted 
all his time to a study of the law and decisions on extradition 
and perjury. He prepared a lengthy appeal to the United 
States Supreme Court, but on May 17, 1909, Justice Peckham 
handed down a decision sustaining the lower courts. In this 
decision the Justice said : 

"It is impossible to conceive of representatives of two 
civilized countries solemnly entering into a treaty of extradition 

164 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

and therein providing that a criminal surrendered according to 
demand for a crime that he has committed if subsequent to his 
surrender he is equally guilty of murder or treason or other 
crime, is, nevertheless, to have the right granted to him to 
return unmolested to the country which surrendered him. We 
can imagine no country, by treaty, as desirous of exacting such 
a condition of surrender or any country as willing to accept it." 
On June 5 Collins applied to Governor Gillett for a pardon, 
which was denied, and on June 17 he was removed to San 
Quentin Prison, where he was immediately put to work in 
the jute mill. 


As this great disaster has been the theme of numerous 
able historians, the main events will be but briefly dealt with, 
and we will then pass to the events known only to those who 
for three days and nights battled "amid the crash and roar 
of the burning city," constantly risking their lives to rescue 

San Francisco Cases 165 

others and to procure provisions from burning stores in 
order to prevent a famine. 

The great earthquake occurred at 5:14 a. m., April 18, 
1906. As the shock shattered the principal water mains, the 
fire department was practically helpless and as a result, the 
fires which were started by the overturning of stoves, crossing 
of electric wires, the liberation of chemicals by breakage of 
containers, etc., rapidly spread until a territory of 4.7 square 
miles in the heart of the city was burned, and a loss approxi- 
mately estimated at $275,000,000 was incurred. 

The City Hall was a mass of ruins after the earthquake, 
so Mayor E. E, Schmitz proceeded to the Hall of Justice, 
where his first orders were issued. 

As the earthquake rendered the jails unsafe, he ordered 
that all petty offenders be released, while those charged with 
more serious offenses were sent to San Quentin State 

Reports reached headquarters that thieves were burglar- 
izing wrecked stores and deserted homes, and it was also 
learned that in the Mission district the body of a woman 
was found, the finger upon which she wore several valuable 
rings having been amputated, evidently by some thief. 

The next report was to the effect that rowdies were 
breaking into saloons and helping themselves to liquor. 

As the police were busy conveying the wounded to the 
temporary hospitals and had no time to arrest thieves even 
if caught in the act, and no place to incarcerate them if ar- 
rested, the Mayor issued his first order to Chief Dinan under 
the "law of necessity," which was substantially as follows : 

"Apr. 18, 1906. 
"As it has come to my notice that thieves are taking ad- 
vantage of the present deplorable conditions and are plying 
their nefarious vocations among the ruins in our city, all 
peace officers are ordered to instantly kill any one caught 
looting or committing any other serious crimes. 

"E. E. Schmitz, Mayor." 

About 8 a. m. Brigadier General Frederick Funston, 
U. S. A., called at the Hall of Justice, and after a conference 
with Mayor Schmitz, he placed his troops at the disposal of 

1 66 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

the Mayor. From that time until conditions became normal, 
the soldiers worked in conjunction with the police, either in 
preserving order or distributing provisions. 

Shortly after the troops began patrolling the streets the 
first looter was caught while he was making an attempt to 
burglarize Shreve's jewelry store at Post and Grant avenue. 
He was turned over to a soldier who killed him and left his 
body to be consumed by the fire. 

The Morgue, which was only constructed for ordinary 
occasions, was soon filled to overflowing with the bodies of 
victims of falling walls, etc., so the target range of the Cen- 
tral Police Station was turned into an emergency Morgue for 
the time being. But as the fire was rapidly approaching that 
building, the twenty-eight bodies placed there were tempo- 
rarily buried in Portsmouth Square. 

Of the 478 bodies finally recovered a great number were 
unrecognizable because of their mangled condition. It will 
never be known how many were killed, as the heat of the 
fire was so intense that the bodies were reduced to ashes in 
many instances, but judging from reports of persons missing 
and other circumstances, the number has been estimated at 
between 1,000 and 1,500. 

On Third street near Mission, a building collapsed in 
such a manner as to pinion an unknown man to the ground. 
His cries attracted people on the street, who attempted to rescue 
him, but at that time the fire had reached the rear end of 
the building. Realizing that he would soon be burned to 
death he begged the bystanders to kill him. After some hesi- 
tancy, a large, middle-aged man stepped forward, and after 
a few words with the unfortunate prisoner, he whipped out 
a revolver and shot him through the head, killing him in- 
stantly. He then requested the witnesses to accompany him 
to the Hall of Justice, where the Mayor, who after hearing 
the circumstances and seeing the man's distressed appearance, 
commended him for his humane act. 

Among those killed was Dennis Sullivan, the able Chief 
of the Fire Department, who was asleep in his room at the 
Engine House adjoining the California Hotel on Bush street. 

San Francisco Cases 167 

The engine house was a two-story structure and a massive 
brick chimney fell from the top of the eight-story hotel, 
crashed through the engine house roof and struck the Chief. 
He was removed to the Presidio Hospital, where he died on 
April 22. 

The greatest damage done by the fire was in the Harbor 
Police district, commanded by Captain John Martin; the 
Southern district, commanded by Captain Henry Colby; the 
Central Police district, commanded by Captain Thomas Duke, 
and the Mission district, commanded by Captain M. O. An- 

As it seemed that the fire would sweep the entire city, 
about 200,000 panic stricken people took advantage of the free 
transportation furnished by President Harriman of the South- 
ern Pacific Railroad and left the city. Another hundred 
thousand, who lost their homes, camped in the public parks 
and graveyards, many gladly taking advantage of the shelter 
afforded by the vaults for the dead, especially during the rain- 
storm beginning on April 23. Because of this storm the police 
took possession of all vacant buildings and placed as many 
families in each as the building could comfortably hold. It 
is estimated that about 2,000 families were provided for in 
this manner. 

On the morning of the earthquake it became apparent 
that steps must be taken to prevent a famine. Police officers 
were therefore detailed to seize all suitable conveyances and 
remove the contents of all grocery stores which were in dan- 
ger of being burned. This work was kept up for three days 
and nights, and as a result the contents of 390 grocery stores 
were delivered to the refugees. 

On April 19 it was learned that several large ships, which 
had been heavily loaded with provisions previous to the disas- 
ter, were about to leave for foreign ports. To prevent this 
a police guard was placed on board the vessels, and as an 
extra precaution Lieutenant Frederick Green was instructed 
to procure the tug "Sea Rover." With a squad of eight offi- 
cers on board this vessel, the exit from the harbor was block- 
aded from April 19 to 24 inclusive. By this time provisions 

1 68 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

were arriving by the trainload and the danger of a famine 
had passed. 

For many weeks after the earthquake all saloons in the 
unbumed district were kept closed by order of the Mayor. 
In some instances a disposition was shown to ignore this 
order, and the result was that every ounce of liquor in the 
establishment was turned into the sewer. 

When it became apparent that the Hall of Justice would 
be destroyed by fire, all valuable police records were removed 
to Portsmouth Square and left in charge of a detail of officers, 
consisting of Detectives Charles Taylor, George McMahon 
and others. These officers were provided with provisions but 
no water was obtainable. The fire rapidly surrounded the 
square and the officers became prisoners. The heat was ter- 
rific and the cinders, which were falling like hail, were con- 
stantly igniting the canvas spread over the records. As 
there was a saloon across the street which had not at that 
time caught fire, a raid was made on the place, and for the 
next twenty-four hours bottled beer was used to keep the 
canvas from igniting, and thus the records were saved. 

Several insane patients were confined in the Receiving 
Hospital in the City Hall building on the morning of the 
earthquake, and when the building began to rock and the walls 
began to fall, their condition can be better imagined than 
described. Officer Frank Parquette made his way through 
the wreckage to their rescue, and by the use of much tact suc- 
ceeded in getting them into the Mechanics' Pavilion, which 
was utilized as a general hospital until the fire drew near. 

Patrolman Max Fenner, known as the Hercules of the 
Police Department, was standing opposite the Essex Lodging 
House, a seven-story brick building on Mason near Ellis street, 
when the earthquake occurred. He observed that the front 
wall of the building was tottering and at the same time he 
saw a woman run out of the building onto the sidewalk. He 
tried to warn her of her danger, but as she did not move he 
rushed over toward her. Just then the whole front of the 
building fell out, and while the woman ran inside the door- 
way and was unharmed, Fenner was instantly killed and his 

San Francisco Cases 169 

mangled body was buried in Portsmouth Square until the fire 

As has been previously stated, no water was available 
for fire-fighting purposes, so dynamiting squads were oper- 
ating near the fire line under the supervision of the army and 
police officials. By the use of this explosive great structures 
were leveled to the ground for the purpose of checking the 
fire. Captain of Police Henry Gleeson and Lieutenant Charles 
C. Pulis, U. S. A., were in command of a detail on Sixth 
street. They had placed a heavy charge in a building located 
on Sixth street near Market and lit the fuse. This burned 
much more rapidly than expected, and before the officers could 
escape the explosion occurred and they were blown out into 
the street, where considerable wreckage from the building 
fell upon them. Both men were rendered unconscious. They 
were removed to the temporary hospital at the Mechanics 
Pavilion, thence to the Presidio Hospital, where they event- 
ually recovered. 

During the height of the conflagration. Officer Edward 
Leonard, accompanied Deputy L. K. Jones into the City Tax 
Collector's office in the ruins of the City Hall, and records 
were saved which enabled Tax Collector J. F. Nichols to col- 
lect over $1,000,000 in taxes. 

A volume would be required to record the many heroic 
deeds performed by the firemen and police during those three 
eventful days and nights. And it must be remembered that 
the majority of them labored with little nourishment and no 
sleep, and with the knowledge that their homes were de- 
stroyed and the fate of their families unknown. Officer James 
Connolly had concluded that his entire family had been killed, 
but a week later he located them in Vallejo, Cal. 

On the evening of April 19, Officer T. Flood was about 
to enter his home at 1722 Hyde street with the intention of 
saving some articles from the fire which was fast approach- 
ing. The officer's uniform was burned and he was in civilian 
clothes. Just as he was about to go up his front stairs, two 
men came out of the front door. Flood demanded that the 
strangers state what business they had there, but the only 

170 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

answer he received was a blow on the jaw which knocked 
him down. Flood's assailant then kicked him on the side 
of the head, spHtting his ear. The officer drew his revolver 
and killed him but the other man escaped. The body was 
taken to Portsmouth Square for temporary burial, but the 
dead man's identity was never learned. 

As there were only a very few pipes in the city from 
which water could be obtained for many days after the fire, 
it was distributed for cooking purposes by means of the street 
sprinkling wagons. 

For several days after the earthquake the city was in 
absolute darkness at night time, as no lights were permitted 
in houses; but on April 22 Mayor Schmitz issued the follow- 
ing order: 

"Lights are permitted in houses between sunset and 10 
p. m. only, unless sentinels are convinced that some latitude 
should be allowed in case of sickness. 

"As all chimneys were more or less injured by the earth- 
quake, no fires will be permitted in houses in grates, stoves or 
fireplaces unless the occupants hold a certificate issued by an 
authorized chimney inspector. Said certificate to be posted in 
a conspicuous place in front of the building. 

"The importance of this provision is emphasized by the 
fact that no effective means are at hand for stopping fires. 

"Our greatest danger in the immediate future may be 
expected from unavoidable unsanitary conditions and every 
person is cautioned that to violate in the slightest degree the 
instructions from the officers will be a crime that cannot be 
adequately punished. 

"All persons, except suspicious characters, will be per- 
mitted to pass sentinels without interruption. 

"E. E. Schmitz, Mayor." 

The order prohibiting persons from building fires in 
houses resulted in all kitchen stoves being moved into the 
street, where cooking was done for many weeks. 

After the fire the streets in the burned district were cov- 
ered with debris, and instructions were issued to force all idle 
and dissolute men to assist in clearing the streets. 

On April 26, Major-General Greely, U. S. A., General 
Koster, of the National Guard, and Mayor Schmitz entered 
into an agreement to the effect that the regular soldiers should 

San Francisco Cases 171 

police one-third of the city, the National Guard one-third and 
the regular police one-third. This continued for some weeks 
until the police took complete control. The regular army 
also had charge of the distribution of all food and clothing 
shipped to San Francisco for relief purposes. 

In addition to the police service already mentioned, sev- 
eral men organized what was known as a "Citizens' patrol" of 
watchmen, and they were armed with rifles and pistols. On 
May 26 the Mayor ordered the patrol to disband. 

The Unfortunate Killing of Herbert Tilden by "Volunteer 


After the great catastrophe, one of the first citizens to 
volunteer his services to the Red Cross Society was Mr. Her- 
bert Tilden, a prominent merchant and a man of great popu- 
larity because of his kindly disposition. He worked night and 
day with his large automobile, carrying invalids to places of 
shelter from the storm then raging. 

On the evening of April 22 he tore himself away from 
this work for the purpose of visiting his own family in the 
neighborhood of San Mateo, a few miles from San Francisco. 
He used his automobile for this purpose, and was accompanied 
by Acting Lieutenant Seamans of the Signal Corps. 

After leaving his family he and Seamans returned to San 
Francisco, reaching Twenty-fourth and Guerrero streets about 
midnight. A large Red Cross flag was flying from the ma- 
chine at the time, and Tilden was acting as his own chauflfeur. 
At this point some men in civilians' clothes called "halt," but 
as the machine drew nearer and they observed the flag it was 
permitted to pass. At Twenty-second street three other men 
called out "halt," but Tilden, believing that they would see his 
flag as he drew nearer, paid no attention to the command 
and passed on. Some one on the corner then began firing 
a revolver and Seamans responded, emptying his revolver. 
While Seamans was firing, Tilden 'fell forward, mortally 
wounded, and Seamans was also wounded. The machine was 
stopped and the men on the corner hurried up to it and then 
learned the result of the shooting. 

172 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Three of these men were arrested and charged with 
murder. Their names were Edward Boynton, Vance Malcolm 
and G. W. Simmons. It was shown that they were members 
of the so-called "Citizens' Police," an organization formed 
for the purpose of assisting the police, but having no author- 
ity as peace officers. Their preliminary examination was held 
before Judge Shortall, who on May 24 held them to answer 
before the Superior Court. 

On September 20 the trials of Boynton and Simmons 
began before Superior Judge Cook. Mayor E. E. Schmitz 
testified that he issued an order on April 18 for all guardians 
of the peace to kill thieves or persons committing any serious 

•Boynton testified that he had been detailed at Twenty- 
second and Guerrero streets, and that he had received orders 
to halt all persons and ascertain the nature of their business. 
He also stated that he was under the impression that martial 
law had been declared. He testified further as follows: 

"At about midnight two men came along on foot, and 
upon halting them I learned that they were fellow guards 
named Malcolm and Simmons. At that instant I observed 
an automobile coming down Guerrero street at a high rate 
of speed, and I also noticed that the driver ignored the com- 
mand to halt given by my fellow guards two blocks away. 
Believing that the machine had been stolen I cried 'halt,' but 
as the chauflFeur only increased his speed, I fired a shot in 
the air as they passed. A man in the machine began firing, 
so in self-defense I fired directly toward the machine, empty- 
ing my revolver. Simmons also fired one shot from his rifle." 

Judge Cook's instructions to the jury were in part as 
follows : 

"This is in many respects an extraordinary case, arising 
under extraordinary conditions. 

"I charge you as a matter of law that at the time in 
question, martial law did not prevail. The State law was 
supreme and mere proclamations could not make laws. 

"No soldier or police had any right to stop citizens with- 
out legal cause, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. 

"But the Penal Code expressly excepts from among per- 

San Francisco Cases 173 

sons capable of committing- crime, those who commit an act 
or omission under a mistake of fact that disproves criminal 

"It is a matter of history that the entire community be- 
lieved that martial law prevailed during the great fire. 

"Therefore, if the defendants honestly believed and the 
circumstances were such as to lead them to believe that they 
were acting under martial law, and the evidence proves that 
that mistake removes any criminal intent, then the defendants 
were incapable of committing this alleged crime. 

"The question to be decided is : Did the defendants hon- 
estly believe at the time of the firing of the shots that the 
automobile was stolen and that they were preventing the fur- 
ther commission of a felony? If so they were justified under 
the law." 

After a few moments' deliberation the jury returned a 
verdict of not guilty, and on motion of the District Attorney, 
the charge against Malcolm was also dismissed. 

The Killing of Frank Riordan by L. Betchel, N. G. C. 

On the evening of April 20, Randolph Merriwether, a 
member of the National Guard of California, was stationed 
at Cedar avenue and Post street, when Frank Riordan, a vet- 
eran of the Philippine war, approached him and is alleged 
to have referred to Merriwether as a "tin soldier." This re- 
sulted in a fight, during which Lawrence Betchel, of the Na- 
tional Guard, appeared upon the scene and advanced toward 
Riordan with drawn bayonet. The latter grasped the rifle, 
whereupon Betchel fired, killing Riordan almost instantly. 

Betchel claimed that the act was in self-defense and that 
he was justified in approaching Riordan with a drawn bay- 
onet, as the latter was in the act of disarming a soldier on 

On June 12, Betchel was held to answer and the case was 
set for trial before Judge Cook on December 4, but in view 
of the instructions to the jury in the Tilden case, the District 
Attorney moved that the case be dismissed, and it was so 
ordered by the Court. 

174 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

The Killing of Joseph Meyers, Superintendent of the Chil- 
dren's Playgrounds, by Corporal Jacob Steinman, of 
the National Guard. 

On the night of April 19, Columbia Square, located at 
Eighth and Harrison streets, was filled with refugees who 
were surrounded by the great fire, which spread from one to 
two miles in all directions. A detachment of National Guards- 
men was assigned to preserve the peace in the square, and 
in this detachment was a Corporal named Jacob Steinman. 

About 9 p. m., on this date, Steinman, accompanied by 
one Bush, approached Joseph Meyers, the Superintendent of 
the Children's Playgrounds, which was located in the vicinity. 
At the time, Meyers was conversing with a Miss Kessel, who 
gave the following version of what transpired: 

"Bush and Meyers became engaged in an altercation and 
finally Meyers called to Steinman, who was standing a few 
feet away, and said, 'You know me,' to which Steinman re- 
plied, 'No, I don't know you and don't want to.' 

"Meyers and Bush then grappled with each other. At 
that instant I attempted to lead Meyers away, but Steinman 
pulled out a revolver and shot Meyers, killing him almost 

Steinman was arrested on May 2 and his preliminary ex- 
amination was held before Superior Judge Graham, who sat 
as a committing magistrate. The defendant was held to 
answer on May 15. 

On September 4 his trial began before Judge Lawlor, 
Hiram Johnson appearing for the defendant, and S. Short- 
ridge appearing as special prosecutor. 

Steinman produced witnesses who swore that Meyers 
assumed the attitude of a man who was about to draw a 
pistol when Steinman shot him. It was also claimed that 
immediately after the shooting the defendant exclaimed : 
"Well, this is pretty rough work, but it is an act of martial 

In charging the jury Judge Lawlor said in part : "Mayor 
Schmitz's proclamation was void and illegal and therefore 

San Francisco Cases 175 

cannot legally justify the defendant in the commission of 
the act upon which the charge before the court is based. 

"In stating the law there is no disposition to criticise 
the Mayor in meeting the extraordinary conditions prevailing 
at the time and which involved the highest interests of the 

On September 13 the cause was finally submitted to the 
jury, and after deliberating fifty minutes a verdict of not 
guilty was returned. 

The Killing of an Unknown Man by Captain Ernest 


Ernest Denicke came from a highly respected family, his 
father being Colonel E. Denicke, a prominent capitalist. 
Young Denicke was a graduate of the State University and 
a retired captain of the National Guard. He was a civil en- 
gineer by profession. Immediately after the earthquake he 
donned a khaki uniform of Captain's rank and stationed 
himself with the soldiers detailed at the water front near 
East and Lombard streets. 

On the afternoon of April 20 Horace Hudson, of the 
San Francisco Chronicle, and Andrew Sbarboro, the well 
known capitalist, saw some soldiers in an intoxicated condi- 
tion at Battery and East streets. They immediately pro- 
ceeded to the officers' headquarters at East and Lombard 
streets and reported their observations to Ernest Denicke, 
who started to return with them to East and Battery streets. 

When the trio neared this point, according to the state- 
ments of Sbarboro and Hudson, they observed a man carrying 
some fowls. 

Denicke evidently suspected that they were stolen, and 
he ordered a sailor who was acting as a sentinel to instruct 
the man to drop the fowls and get out and fight the fire. 

The man dropped the fowls and started away, when 
Denicke is alleged to have ordered the sailor to prod him 
with a bayonet. The sailor attempted to do so, but the 
stranger grappled with him, and after disarming the sailor 
it is claimed he started toward the bay with the rifle. 

176 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

At that instant Denicke fired several shots at the man, who 
fell mortally wounded. The stranger died shortly after- 
ward, and that night Lieutenant Charles Herring, U. S. A., 
weighted the body with iron and had it thrown into the bay. 
It was afterward claimed that the fowls were given to this 
man at the distribution car. 

On May 24 Denicke was arrested, and he made a state- 
ment substantially as follows: 

"I saw the man with the chickens, and believing he had 
stolen them I ordered the sentry to take them from him, and 
after he did so the man robbed him of his rifle and turned 
toward me. I believed that he was about to shoot at me, and 
as a matter of self-defense I shot him. 

"At the time I was under the impression that martial 
law prevailed, and I had in mind the order to kill all persons 
caught stealing." 

As the body of the unknown was never recovered, Den- 
icke was charged with the murder of John Doe. 

Ex-Governor James Budd and Abraham Ruef were en- 
gaged by the defense and the preliminary examination began 
before Police Judge Shortall on May 27. 

After hearing the evidence the Judge dismissed the charge 
against the defendant. As there was a belief in some quarters 
that Denicke should be punished, he was again arrested, and 
Superior Judge Lawlor sat as a committing magistrate. 

After hearing the evidence the Judge held the defendant 
to answer before the Superior Court. The trial took place 
before a jury in Judge Cook's court, and the defendant was 
found not guilty, on November 28, 1906. 

At the time these trials were being conducted the great 
fire had made the Hall of Justice but a memory of the past, 
so the sessions of the different courts were held in basements 
of private buildings, in halls and churches throughout the 

Judge Cook's court was first held in the basement of 
Calvary Church, at Washington and Fillmore streets, and later 
at the Salvation Army Hall, at Fillmore and Post streets, 

San Francisco Cases 177 

where Seimsen and Dabner, the gaspipe thugs, received their 
death sentence. 

Judge Lawlor's court was held in the magnificent Jewish 
Synagogue, at CaHfornia and Webster streets, where John 
Byrne, the murderer of Pohce Officer George O'Connoll, was 
sentenced to be hanged. 


Never since the days of the famous Vigilance Committee 
in 1&52-56 were the citizens of San Francisco more terror- 
stricken by the criminal element than during the five months 
following the great earthquake and fire in April, 1906. 

Because of the vast amount of taxable property destroyed 
it was decided that all branches of the municipal government 
must economize, and the police force was temporarily re- 
duced about one-fifth by forcing members to take a leave of 
absence. The criminal element was quick to take advantage 
of the situation, and the result was that a series of most atro- 
cious crimes were committed. 

Some of our most prominent citizens were beaten and 
robbed on the streets, and finally the desperadoes became more 
bloodthirsty and murdered merchants and bankers in their 
places of business in broad daylight. 

On the night of July 10, 1906, Coroner Leland was as- 
saulted and robbed by two thugs at the corner of Laguna and 
Vallejo streets. 

Owing to a remarkable chain of circumstantial evidence 
an ex-convict named James Dowdall was arrested for this 
crime, partially identified by Dr. Leland, and convicted. He 
was sentenced to fifty years' imprisonment. 

Johannes Pfitzner was the son of Adolph Pfitzner, the 
Chief Architect to Emperor William of Germany. The son 
left home to make his own way in the world, and immediately 
after the big fire opened a small shoe store at 964 McAllister 

178 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

On the afternoon of August 20, 1906, he was found on 
the floor of his store in a dying condition, his head having been 
crushed in by a window weight, which was found near the 
body. About $140 and his gold watch was missing. It was 
evident that he was in the act of trying a pair of No. 8 shoes 
on some man when the fatal blow was struck. 

At 3:10 p. m. on September 14, 1906, a little boy named 
Robert Anderson and his sister, Thelma, entered the clothing 
store conducted by William Friede, at 1386 Market street. 

Seeing no one in the front part of the store the children 
went to the rear, which was Friede's workshop and where 
customers tried on clothing. Here they found Friede lying in 
a pool of blood, his head being battered to a pulp. His tape 
measure lay beside him, his pockets were turned inside out ; 
his watch, containing a picture of his family, was missing, 
and the money drawer was empty. The wounded man died 
the next day without having recovered consciousness. 

There was no evidence to show what instrument was used 
in committing this assault. On the following day Friede's 
watch was found on Market street, near Dolores. 

At 12:30 p. m., October 3, 1906, a Japanese named Yazo 
Kitashima entered the Japanese bank, known as the "Kimmon 
Ginko," located at 1588 O'Farrell street, but failing to receive 
any response to his calls he proceeded to President M. Mune- 
kato's office in the rear. Here he found the President and A. 
Sasaki, a clerk, lying on the floor, their heads having been 
beaten almost to a pulp. 

Nearby was a piece of one and one-quarter inch gaspipc 
about fourteen inches in length and wrapped in a piece of or- 
dinary wrapping paper. It was covered with blood and evi- 
dently was the weapon used in committing the assault. 

After rendering the bank attaches helpless, the assailants 
took all the money in sight, about $2,800. Munakato died two 
hours after the assault, but Sasaki, after months of suffering, 
finally recovered, but his mind always remained a blank re- 
garding the circumstances leading up to the assault. 

Governor Pardee took cognizance of the unprecedented 
number of atrocious crimes being committed in San Francisco, 

San Francisco Cases 179 

and on October 12, 1906, he offered a reward of $1,500 for 
the arrest and conviction of the murderers of Pfitzner, Friede 
and Munakato. 

On Saturday evening, November 3, 1906, three men en- 
tered the jewelry store conducted by Henry Behrend, at 1323 
Steiner street, and after making a pretense at purchasing 
jewelry assaulted him. One man took about $75 from the 
till, another held Behrend, while the third rained blows on his 
head with an iron bar, 

Behrend resisted and dodged the blows. This caused the 
man who was holding him to place one hand on the side of 
his head to hold it still so that the third man's blows would 
be effective. The next blow struck one of the fingers of the 
man who was holding Behrend and almost cut it off. The 
robbers became alarmed and fled, with the exception of the 
man who was wielding the iron. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Behrend's face and head 
were covered with his own blood, he bravely held on to this 
man until Officers John T. Conlon, William Lambert, James 
Welch and W. F. Brown, a fireman, appeared and took the 
assailant into custody. The cry that one of the "gaspipe" men 
had been captured spread like wildfire, and the great crowd 
which assembled in front of the jewelry store were continually 
uttering cries of "Lynch him," and considerable difficulty was 
experienced in dispersing the indignant citizens. The robber 
was taken before Chief Dinan and Captain of Detectives Duke. 
He at first refused to discuss his identity, but upon being told 
that he would be shown at midnight to every policeman in the 
city for identification he admitted that his name was Loiiis 
Dabner and that he resided at 1786 Union street. He also ad- 
mitted that his roommate was John Seimsen, whose father 
was at one time a very wealthy citizen in Honolulu. Dabner 
claimed that Seimsen had nothing to do with the assault 
just committed. Upon making an investigation it was learned 
that the description of Seimsen tallied with that given by 
Behrend of the man who held him, and Behrend furthermore 
stated that the man who held him had a wounded finger. 

Some days previous, Seimsen, who had posed as the heir 

i8o Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

to a vast estate in Honolulu, secretly married Miss Hulda 
Von Hoffen, whose father conducted a jewelry store on 
Union street near Buchanan. Seimsen had an appointment 
that evening with his wife, who was still living at her father's 

Subsequent developments proved that Seimsen was ac- 
tually the assailant whom Behrend described as having a 
wounded finger. As it was necessary for Seimsen to explain 
this injury to his wife, he stated that he had been "held up" 
and that because his diamond ring could not be readily re- 
moved the highwayman attempted to cut his finger off. 

His wife telephoned the details of the alleged robbery to 
her father, against the wishes of Seimsen. Shortly after re- 
ceiving the message Mr. Von Hoffen met Chief Dinan and 
Captain Duke, who were en route to Dabner and Seimsen's 
room, and informed them of his daughter's message. 

The officers pretended that they had heard all about the 
"robbery" of Mr. Seimsen, and stated that they had located 
the roDoers and were looking for Mr. Seimsen to identify 
them. Mr. Von Hoffen was highly elated, and bade them wait 
at his door, as his daughter had telephoned that they were on 
the way home. Presently Seimsen arrived with his wife, and 
the officers said : "Well, Mr. Seimsen, we have the men who 
robbed you and we want you to accompany us to the station 
to identify them." Seimsen stated that he would call the 
next day. As he moved his hand toward his hip pocket the 
officers closed upon him and removed a big pistol from his 
possession. He then said: "Well, I guess it's all up," and 
confessed to participating in the robbery that night, but denied 
having taken part in any other crime. He was at once iden- 
tified by Chief Dinan as an ex-convict who had served four 
years for stealing some instruments from a Hawaiian musician. 

Within a few days the police gathered an abundance of 
evidence against the pair, even ascertaining where the $2,800 
taken from the Japanese bank was spent. Dabner's father was 
a highly respected citizen of Petaluma, Cal., and on November 
6, 1906, in company with Captain of Detectives Duke and 
Detective Wren, he visited his son. At this time he demanded 

San Francisco Cases i8i 

proof that his son had committed murder, and the evidence 
was laid before him. Being convinced of his own son's guilt 
he begged him to tell the truth. The boy still professed to 
be innocent, but when additional evidence was disclosed, he 
finally weakened and made the following remarkable con- 
fession : 

"On the night of July 10, Seimsen and I held up Coroner 
Leland at the corner of Vallejo and Laguna streets. I know 
it was Dr. Leland because we got papers and checks from 
his person giving his name. We sent the check, gunmetal 
watch, chain and Masonic emblem back to him in a pastboard 
box, by mail. We got the pastboard box at the candy store at 
the corner of Union and Octavia streets. I inclosed a note to 
Dr. Leland in my own handwriting, and wrote the address on 
the box. 

"Seimsen said to Leland: 'Throw up your hands,' and 
pointed a gun at him. Leland attempted to wrestle, and he 
got hold of the gun. Seimsen held the gun with one hand and 
used the other to go through him, and I went through him 
on the other side. We got over a hundred dollars. I am 
almost sure we took either a five or a one dollar greenback. 
Seimsen ordered him to walk down the street. Seimsen and 
I ran across the lot where the refugees built their fires. 

"We jumped the fence and went through a private yard 
and out the front way. We saw a fellow stand and look 
at us, but we kept running. We left two old black overcoats, 
three-quarter size, two slouch hats and a few of Leland's keys 
in a chicken house back of an empty house on Filbert or 
Greenwich street, between Buchanan and Laguna. We 
stayed in the chicken house about half an hour and then 
went home. 

"We were in court as spectators when James Dowdall was 
convicted for this crime and also when he was sentenced to 
life imprisonment. 

"On the night of August 18, myself, Seimsen and Harry 
Sutton, an ex-convict, went out on Pacific avenue and Bu- 
chanan street. We saw a tall, stout man, with sandy mustache, 
coming east on Pacific avenue. He had some parcels in his 

1 82 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

hand. Seimsen jumped out and told him to throw up his 
hands. Harry Sutton went through one side of him and I 
went through the other side. Seimsen hit him with a black 
jack, but the lead flew off and it did not hurt him. We got 
$5 from him. We each took $1, and drank up the remainder. 
This man, whom we learned through the papers was J. H. 
Dockweiler, a civil engineer, ran to a house, rang the bell 
and yelled 'Police.' 

"One Saturday night in the month of May, Seimsen and 
I went into E. E. Gillon's hardware store, on Point Lobos 
avenue, on the north side. I pretended to want to purchase 
a knife. He showed me one and I threw out $20, and he 
threw back the change. Seimsen then threw the gun up at 
him and ordered him to throw up his hands and throw up the 
money and face about. I took $38 of his money. Seimsen 
then ordered him to the back part of the store. Seimsen 
watched him awhile and we then walked away. We laid low 
for a while and then took the car and went hoqie. 

"On the day of the Pfitzner murder, Seimsen and I looked 
in the showcase of the store and went down the street and 
then came back to the store. Seimsen tried on a pair of shoes 
the first time, but complained that they were too dear, and 
we went out. We walked around the block and came back. 
We both went in the store and I tried on a pair. When he 
was trying on my shoes Seimsen hit Pfitzner on the head with 
a window weight and he fell to the floor. I then put on my 
own shoes and held the door at the same time, while Seimsen 
went through Pfitzner. Seimsen got about $100, which we 
divided at our home on Union street. We threw Pfitzner's 
watch in the water at the foot of Fillmore street. 

"Seimsen and I passed Friede's place on Market street 
the day of the murder. At this time there was a 'run' on 
the Hibernia Bank, so we watched the depositors leaving, in- 
tending to follow up any one who looked to be worth the 
while, but not seeing anything that looked 'good' we passed 
back by Friede's. We were looking into the store, and Seim- 
sen said he thought this was an easy place. We went in and 
Seimsen told me to try on a suit. Friede was measuring me 

San Francisco Cases 183 

for a pair of pants when Seimsen hit him on the head and 
knocked him unconscious with a gaspipe that I picked up. 
Seimsen then went through his pockets and I went through the 
till. I took all the money I found in the till, which I divided 
with Seimsen at our home on Union street, where we went im- 
mediately after the assault. 

"Immediately after we killed Friede in the back part of 
his store a customer came in the front part, and fearing that 
he would come to the rear and discover our deed, I pulled 
the shop tag off the new coat which I then had on, took off 
my hat, and pretending to be a clerk, walked out behind the 
counter and asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted 
some 'canvas for lining.' I informed him that I was a new 
clerk and was not familiar with the stock, and asked him to 
please call later, which he agreed to. 

"Friede's money was evidently in an old-fashioned money 
drawer which slid under the counter and could only be opened 
by someone having a knowledge of the combination under the 
drawer which were manipulated with the fingers. 

"1 realized that if I pressed the wrong keys and attempted 
to open the drawer the bell would ring, which would probably 
be heard in the next store, as it was only a temporary building 
with thin board partitions, and we were forced to operate very 
quietly. I reasoned that Friede, being familiar with the com- 
bination and using it many times a day would press only en 
the proper key, and that the key would show the effects of 
constant usage, whereas the others would probably be dusty. 
I therefore lit a match and getting under the counter it was 
apparent at a glance which keys of the combination had been 
used, so I pressed them and the drawer containing the money 
flew open, 

"On the morning of the Japanese bank robbery, Seimsen 
and I left home together. We had planned the day before to 
rob the Japanese bank on the following day at noon. Seimsen 
went into the bank on the day previous to the murder. When 
he came out he told me that he had represented himself to be 
a man of business and that he intended to deposit money 

184 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

"On the day of the robbery we hung around the bank 
for a while, and after we saw the clerks go away to lunch 
we went in. Seimsen stepped in front and told the Japanese 
in the front part that he wanted to see the manager. Then 
Seimsen and I went back to the manager's office. Seimsen 
saw the manager was writing, and as the other Jap was not 
looking, he (Seimsen) hit the manager over the head with 
a gaspipe which I got at Convey's store on Union street, near 
our house, and which I wrapped in a piece of paper I got 
in the same store. I got this pipe the night before the assault. 

"After Seimsen knocked the manager out I called the 
other Jap back to the rear office, according to our original 
plan. When he came back, Seimsen hit him over the head 
several times and he fell. 

"The Jap who was called from the front started to get 
up, and I hit him myself with the pipe on the head, and he 
fell again. Seimsen then went through the till and we got 
about $2,800, partly in silver and partly in gold, which we 
put in a satchel. Not being able to find anything else but 
checks we left. 

"We then went to Seimsen's horse and buggy, which we 
left standing on Webster street, between O'Farrell and Geary, 
and drove to Van Ness avenue, where we met Seimsen's 

"We separated, as he said he was going to take his wife 
out for a drive. I then took one of the Von Hoffen children in 
my buggy out to the Presidio, and I brought her home in about 
two hours. 

"During the time I had the Von Hoifen child out riding 
and until 7 o'clock that night I left the satchel containing the 
money in a sack of oats where we kept our rig. About 7 
p. m. I came and got the satchel containing the money and 
took it to the room occupied by myself and Seimsen. We 
counted it that evening and left it in our closet. On this 
evening I took the horse and rig to Conlan's stable, on Green- 
wich street, near Laguna, and stabled it there. It was a 
sorrel horse with a white face and legs, and the buggy is now 
at Worst's paint store. 

San Francisco Cases 185 

"Seimsen and I spent $246 of the silver which we took 
from the Japanese bank at Macey's Jewelry Company, 1700 
Fillmore street. We also spent about $200 in silver at Paul 
Garen's jewelry store, 1558 Fillmore street. We spent $165 
at the Hub clothing store, on Fillmore street. At Heller's, on 
Van Ness avenue, Seimsen spent $95 and I spent $50. Seim- 
sen also spent $75 at Alexandra's, on Van Ness avenue, near 
Sutter street. Seimsen spent $150 at Alexandra's for a 
locket, watch and diamond engagement ring for his wife. 
All of the money above mentioned was taken from the 
Japanese bank. 

"This and all statements and confessions made by me this 
date (November 6, 1906), to Captain Duke, in the presence of 
my father, are free and voluntary and without threats or 
promise of reward. 

"(Signed), LOUIS DABNER." 

Seimsen, on being confronted by Dabner after the con- 
fession, at first denied that the statements were true, but he 
finally weakened and admitted that it was the truth and signed 
his name to it. Seimsen then explained how Friede's watch 
was found at Market and Dolores streets. 

He stated that Dabner and he boarded a Market street 
car immediately after the assault and stood on the rear end. 
When they reached Dolores street he noticed a watch hanging 
to a button on his vest. He opened it, and seeing that it 
contained a picture of a group consisting of his latest victim, 
a lady and baby, he concluded that the ring of the watch be- 
came caught on the button in some inexplicable manner while 
searching the body. He then threw it into the street. 

Detective Gus Harper was immediately detailed to sub- 
stantiate the confession in relation to the robbery of Dr. Le- 
land, and as it was proved beyond all doubt that the confession 
was true, the matter was laid before Governor Pardee, who 
granted a pardon to Dowdall. 

Seimsen and Dabner were tried for the murder of Muna- 
kato. Dabner pleaded gljilty. Seimsen pleaded not guilty, 
but the jury lost no time in finding him guilty, as every state- 
ment in the confession was proved to be true. Both were 

1 86 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

sentenced to be hanged, but an appeal was taken to the 
Supreme Court, which handed down a decision on April 27, 
1908, in which the rulings of the lower court were affirmed. 

On July 31, 1908, both men were hanged from the same 
scaffold at San Quentin. Dabner's father died shortly be- 
fore the execution, and Pfitzner's father died soon after 
hearing of his son's tragic death. 

It was learned that the third man in the Behrend robbery 
was Harry Kearney from Sacramento, who is now in prison 
in Washington for a similar offense. 

Dowdall has since been returned to State prison for com- 
mitting a burglary. 




(From "Ridge's History of Murieta" and "Sawyer's History 
of Vasquez.") 

Joaquin "Murieta," the first and most notorious of the 
Mexican bandits who operated in California after the close of 
the Mexican war, was born in the Province of Sonora in 1830. 
His parents were highly respected and Joaquin, who was very 
light complexioned for a Mexican, grew up to be an athletic 
and handsome young man. He was studious, of a mild dis- 
position and had friends galore. "Murieta's" true name was 

A very pretty sixteen-year-old Mexican girl named Rosita 
Feliz, also known as Mariana Higuera, lived with her parents 
near Murieta's home, and the two young folks became lovers. 
The girl's father became convinced that the relationship be- 
tween his daughter and the handsome young Murieta was not 
what it should be. A violent quarrel ensued which resulted 
in Murieta and his pretty sweetheart eloping to California in 
the spring of 1850. At this time Murieta was 19 years of 
age and Rosita was 17. They proceeded to the mines in 
Stanislaus County, where Murieta secured work and became 
a general favorite among his associates. 

* Cincinnatus Heine Miller, generally known as "Joaquin Mil- 
ler, the poet of the Sierras," is said to have taken the sobriquet 
"Joaquin" because of his admiration for the daring of this bandit. 

At the conclusion of his poem, "Joaquin Murieta," Miller has 
written the following note: 

"After the cruel conquest of California from Mexico, we 
poured in upon the simple and hospitable people from all parts 
of the United States. Strangers in language and religion, let it 
be honestly admitted, we were often guilty of gross wrong to the 
conquered Californians. Out of this wrong suddenly sprang 
Joaquin Murieta, a mere boy, and yet one of the boldest men in 
history. But he soon degenerated into a robber and a large re- 
ward was offered for his head. The splendid daring and unhappy 
death of this remarkable youth appeal strongly to me; and, bandit 
as he was, I am bound to say I have a great respect for his 

190 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

There was a gang of American ruffians in this camp who 
pretended to believe that because the Mexicans had been de- 
feated in the war just concluded with the United States, that 
they had no right to seek employment in American enter- 
prises. They went in a body to Murieta's home and informed 
him that "no damned Mexican had a right to work in an 
American mine." Murieta protested against the conduct of 
this gang in his own home and they then bound and beat 
him and outraged Rosita in his presence. 

Joaquin and Rosita then went to Calaveras County, where 
they settled on a small piece of land. They were just begin- 
ning to get along nicely when they were again visited by a 
band of men, calling themselves Americans, and informed 
that their presence was not needed. The couple having a 
lively recollection of their previous experience with "Ameri- 
cans," decided to move to Murphy's diggings in the same 
county, where Murieta again worked as a miner. This was 
in April, 1850. As he had some difficulty with his employer 
he soon left this position and became a gambler. 

About this time his half brother arrived from Mexico 
and rented a piece of land near where Joaquin was living. 
One day the latter visited his half brother, who loaned him 
a horse on which to ride back to town. It transpired that 
this horse had been stolen and then sold to Murieta's half 
brother. While riding to town, Joaquin met the rightful 
owner, who recognized his horse and accused the young 
Mexican of having stolen it. 

Joaquin protested his innocence, but a crowd gathered 
and it was decided to lynch him then and there. He finally 
persuaded them to accompany him back to his half brother, 
whom he felt confident would be able to give a satisfactory 
explanation as to how he gained possession of the animal. 
The half brother stated that he purchased the horse from a 
man, but being a stranger in the country he could not give 
his name. The crowd considered this sufficient evidence to 
justify them in lynching the man, and after doing so they 
stripped Murieta and horsewhipped him until his body was 
covered with blood. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 191 

After they departed Joaquin cut down his brother's body, 
and according to a statement made by Rosita years after- 
wards, this last outrage caused Murieta to kneel over the 
body of his murdered brother and with uplifted dagger he 
swore that he would devote the remainder of his life to 
slaughtering Americans, whom he regarded as the foremost 
enemies of his race. 

Shortly after this, the terribly mutilated body of an 
American miner was found near Murphy's diggings, and it 
proved to be the body of one of the men who participated 
in the lynching of Joaquin's brother. Joaquin knowing that 
he would be suspected of this and numerous other murders 
which he contemplated committing, kept out of sight. 

A few weeks later a doctor, who also had a hand in the 
lynching, was walking along the road one night when a bullet 
pierced his hat. After the doctor's experience the remainder 
of the lynching party became panic-stricken, but with the 
cunning of a fox and the patience of an ox, Murieta suc- 
ceeded in killing all of those who remained in that part of 
the country — several having departed between two days. 

A band of Mexican desperadoes was then organized, and 
they committed the most atrocious murders in connection with 
their robberies. This gang varied in numbers from twenty 
to fifty, but it was some time before the identity of any of 
its members was ascertained. Finally it was learned that Mu- 
rieta, who was then in his twentieth year, was the leader, and 
Manuel Garcia, alias "Three-fingered Jack," probably the most 
fiendish cutthroat of all the Mexican bandits, was his lieu- 
tenant. Garcia lost one of his fingers while serving as a 
Mexican guerrilla during the war with Americans. Among 
the members of the gang were Reyes Feliz, a brother of 
Joaquin's sweetheart ; Joaquin Valencia, who served under the 
famous Mexican guerrilla chief, Padre Jurata, and Pedro 
Gonzales. Many of the bandits were accompanied by their 
mistresses, who frequently wore men's clothing. 

This band declared that they would never harm but al- 
ways protect any one who befriended them. They also gave 
warning that death would invariably be the penalty to those 

192 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

who betrayed them, and as they gave abundant evidence of 
their sincerity, many persons who trembled at the mention of 
Murieta's name, did all in their power to creep into his favor, 
and the result was that he had no difficulty in procuring pro- 
visions, ammunition and information regarding the movements 
of the authorities. 

It would require a volume to relate the crimes of this 
band. Travelers were dragged from their horses, their throats 
cut and pockets rifled. Farm houses were entered and the 
inmates robbed and murdered and the houses burned. 

In the fall of 1851 this gang operated in the country 
adjacent to Marysville, Cal., and as a result seven murders 
were committed in twelve days. 

One day two men who were traveling along a road by 
the Feather River, near Honcut, looked ahead and saw four 
Mexicans dragging a man along the road at the end of a 
lariet which was around the victim's neck. The two men 
hastened back and notified the authorities, and a search re- 
sulted in the finding of the bodies of four men in the vicinity, 
all having rope marks around the necks. 

Murieta's gang then changed the scene of their operations 
to the foot of Mt. Shasta; arriving in November, 1851. Here 
they resumed operations by stealing horses and murdering 

One day Reyes Feliz, of this gang, rode into the town of 
Hamilton. He was a handsome fellow, and when he met 
the voluptuous wife of a packer named Carmelita, she fell in 
lov€ with him at first sight, and after he confided to her who 
he was, she agreed to accompany him to the camp of the 

Residing near Hamilton was a hunter and trapper com- 
monly known as "Pete." He was half Indian and half French, 
and had two pretty daughters aged 16 and 18 years respect- 
ively. One day two of Murieta's gang met the youngest 
daughter while she was out hunting and they bound her with 
a lariat with the intention of committing an assault upon her, 
but Murieta was attracted to the scene by the girl's cries. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 193 

and immediately ordered that she be released and permitted 
to go her way unharmed. 

In the spring of 1852, Murieta's band stole 300 head of 
horses, which they drove from the mountains through the 
southern part of the State and disposed of them in the Prov- 
ince of Sonora. In a few weeks they returned to the State 
and made their headquarters at the Arroyo Cantoova, a tract 
of 8000 acres of rich pasture land lying between the Coast 
Range and Tulare Lake. The gang now consisted of seventy 

On April 20, 1852, Murieta divided his band into three 
parties, and sent them in different directions to steal horses 
and cattle, while he and Rosita, disguised as a man, went to 
visit some Mexican friends at Mokelumne Hill, in Calaveras 
County. Murieta wore a disguise and people in the little 
town never dreamed that the notorious bandit was in their 
midst until an incident occurred in a saloon one evening. 

Murieta was sitting in the barroom reading, when a man 
standing at the bar with a party of friends began telling what 
he would do to Murieta if he met him. The bandit's love for 
something sensational seemed to outweigh his discretion, and 
he jumped upon a chair, tore off his false mustache, and 
drawing two pistols, proclaimed his identity. When he saw 
the consternation he had brought about, he laughed and strode 
majestically from the place. That night he and Rosita de- 
parted for Arroyo Cantoova. Here they met Reyes Feliz, 
Rosita's brother, and his sweetheart, Carmelita, also disguised 
as a man. 

They stole twenty horses from Ovis Timbers and drove 
them down into the country of the Tejon Indians. Timbers 
trailed them and informed Sapatorra, the Indian chief, of the 
presence of the Mexican horse thieves on his land, but the 
identity of the thieves was not known. For the purpose of 
seizing the horses the chief surrounded Murieta and his party, 
and being taken unawares, they were forced to surrender with- 
out a struggle. 

Sapatorra then notified the Los Angeles authorities that 
he had captured some Mexican horse thieves, but the author- 

194 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ities little thinking that the notorious Murieta was in the party, 
sent word back to release them. The chief then relieved the 
entire party of all their clothing, and after whipping the men, 
turned them all loose. 

The next day Feliz was attacked by a bear and almost 
killed. Carmelita stayed with him while Murieta and Rosita 
started out in search of food and clothing. Fortunately for 
them they met an American friend known as Mountain Jim, 
and after the American had a hearty laugh at their predica- 
ment, he took them into his cabin and set out to procure cloth- 
ing, food and arms, not only for them but for the wounded 
Feliz and Carmehta, who were still in the woods. As soon 
as Murieta was clothed, he and Jim started to the rescue of 
Feliz and his sweetheart, and found them so weak from ex- 
posure and hunger that they had to carry them to the cabin 
on their horses. 

After a short rest the party proceeded in the direction of 
San Gabriel Mission, where they met one of Murieta's gangs. 
From the numerous depredations recently committed by this 
gang they were well supplied with money and horses. 

They rested in this neighborhood for two weeks, and one 
day Gonzales and another desperado known as Juan, of this 
gang, went into Los Angeles and became intoxicated. Gon- 
zales was taken into custody by Deputy Sheriff Love but 
Juan escaped and returned to the camp to relate the fate of 
Gonzales. Murieta and several of his band hurriedly saddled 
up their horses and started for the place of detention. Love 
saw them approaching and divining their intentions, he shot 
Gonzales dead, mounted a horse and galloped away. 

About this time Deputy Sheriff Wilson of Santa Barbara 
County was in Los Angeles, and did considerable boasting re- 
garding what he would do to Murieta. The latter heard of 
this, but as he did not know Wilson, he disguised himself and 
accompanied by a member of his gang who did know him, 
he proceeded into Los Angeles to locate the deputy sheriff. 
When they entered the main street, Wilson was standing among 
a group of men who were arguing, and Murieta rode up into 
the group, leaned over and whispered in Wilson's ear, and 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 195 

before the latter could reply or move, the bandit drew a revol- 
ver, shot him through the head and fled to his camp. 

A few days after this occurrence Murieta and "Three- 
fingered Jack" found two Chinamen asleep on the roadside, and 
after robbing them and turning their pockets inside out, "Jack" 
cut their throats. 

About this time Major-General Joshua H. Bean of the 
militia began to organize a large posse to exterminate this 
gang. Murieta and "Jack" heard of it and one night in July, 
1852, they waylaid the General, and after dragging him from 
his horse, stabbed him to death. Immediately after this mur- 
der, Murieta collected his whole band and proceeded to Cala- 
veras County, committing' numerous outrages en route. 

In August, 1852, Murieta was in the town of Jackson, 
Amador County, where he was recognized by a man named 
jDe Lake, who knew the bandit when he was a miner. Lake 
promised Murieta that he would not reveal the latter's identity, 
but the bandit's back was scarcely turned before Lake went 
to the town of Hornitas and notified the authorities. The 
next day, Murieta, disguised with a beard, rode into Hornitas, 
and seeing Lake in front of a saloon, he rode up, tore oif his 
disguise, and shot Lake dead. The next day the whole band, 
with the exception of Carmelito and Feliz, who was still in 
poor health from exposure and his experience with the bear, 
departed for the mountains. 

Feliz and Carmelito then returned to the neighborhood of 
Los Angeles. One night they attended a fandango in Los 
Angeles and Feliz was arrested on the charge of having par- 
ticipated in the murder of General Bean. Although he did 
not take part in the crime he was hanged, and Carmelito wan- 
dered away into the country and shortly afterward died from 

Murieta soon became dissatisfied with the quiet life in 
the mountains and proceeded with his gang to San Luis Obispo. 
He had been there but a short time when a party of thirty-five 
Americans was organized for the purpose of capturing the 
outlaws. One of Murieta's numerous spies informed him of 
the time that this party would leave the Rancho Los Cozatos 

196 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

and he and his gang concealed themselves in the brush near 
the road and as the party passed they opened a deadly fire 
from ambush. About twenty men were killed on each side 
and the attacking posse retired. Murieta and several of his 
men who were wounded sought seclusion until they recuperated 
from their wounds. 

On December 1, 1852, Murieta and all that was left of 
his gang started for Mariposa County. Near the Merced 
River they met a party consisting of four Frenchmen, six Ger- 
mans and three Americans. These men were ordered to stop, 
but on showing resistance six were instantly killed and 
$15,000.00 in gold dust was taken from the party. 

Immediately after this occurrence they met a Chinaman 
whom they robbed, and after scaring him nearly to death, per- 
mitted him to go his way. The next evening they arrived at 
the ferry of the Tuolumne River and found the ferryman 
asleep in bed. They rode up to the house, broke in the door 
and Murieta pointed a pistol at the ferryman's head and or- 
dered him to hand over his money. The ferryman produced 
about $100.00 but begged the bandits not to take it, as it was 
all he had in the world and he was growing old and feeble. 
This plea touched the tender spot in Murieta's heart, for he 
returned the money and paid the regular fare for his men 
who were carried across the river. 

Two days afterwards the gang was camped near Stockton 
and Murieta provided himself with a supply of new clothes. 
On the next Sunday Murieta donned his best clothes, rode into 
Stockton on a beautiful horse, and at once attracted attention 
because of his handsome appearance and his exhibition of 
horsemanship. Finally he saw a notice on a post which read : 

"Five thousand dollars will be paid for Joaquin Murieta, 
dead or alive." 

He laughed, dismounted and wrote underneath the no- 
tice: "I will pay ten thousand. Joaquin Murieta." He then 
rode away and those who had been observing him, went to see 
what he had written. Their astonishment on learning the 
identity of the dashing horseman can be better imagined than 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 197 

This foolish act made it necessary for Murieta to again 
change the locality of his camp the next day. But before 
moving he ascertained that a schooner would go down the 
slough early on Monday morning and that there would be con- 
siderable gold dust aboard. Murieta and four of his men pro- 
cured a skiff and remained concealed in the tules until the 
schooner was opposite them. They then went alongside and 
boarding the vessel, began firing at once. The two men who 
were managing the vessel were killed instantly, and two miners 
who were in the hold seized shotguns and came up on deck, 
and while they were both killed, they succeeded in killing two 
of Murieta's men. The bandit and his two remaining com- 
panions then robbed the vessel of $20,000.00 worth of gold 
dust, and after setting it on fire, returned to their camp. It 
was estimated that the gang then had about $50,000.00, with 
which they returned to Arroyo Cantoova, where they remained 
until December. At this time there were about ninety despera- 
does in the gang, and about twenty-five women, nearly all of 
whom habitually wore men's attire. 

On December 10, 1852, Murieta detailed twenty men un- 
der command of Guerra to operate in the country where they 
were located, and he proceeded to Calaveras County with sev- 
enty men, leaving all the women behind. 

Three days after the departure of the chief, Guerra was 
killed by his mistress, Margarita, who immediately took an- 
other bandit of the party named Cone j a as her mate. 

Murieta and his 'forces reached Calaveras about Christ- 
mas. Here he again divided his forces, detailing twenty-five 
men under command of a bandit named Reis, a like number 
in charge of Vulvia, and he took the remaining twenty men to 
a mining camp located near the south fork of the Mokolumne 
River. Here he was recognized by a man named Jim Boyce, 
for whose bravery Murieta had great respect. He immediately 
left the place with his gang and a few days afterwards learned 
that Boyce had organized a posse of twenty-five men to hunt 
for Murieta. He at once set spies to work and, locating the 
posse, the bandits trailed them until they went into camp one 
night, and then swarmed down upon them when they were pre- 

198 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

paring to retire and killed twenty-two, Boyce and two others 

After this Murieta's gangs were again divided into small 
parties of five and six men, and they killed nearly every person 
who crossed their paths. In the middle of February, 1853, 
Murieta and "Three-fingered Jack" met two Americans and a 
German who were en route from Murphy's diggings to San 
Francisco, and after relieving them of their gold dust, they 
murdered the three men and threw their bodies into an aban- 
doned shaft. The same day they met six Chinamen, and after 
relieving them of their valuables, the fiends tied their queues 
together and killed them all by cutting their throats. 

On February 19 a mass meeting was held in Jackson and 
it was resolved that a posse should be formed immediately un- 
der command of Undersheriff Charles A. Clark. The first 
day out they captured the bandit "Juan" and another member 
of the gang and hanged them to a tree. 

On February 22, Captain Ellis and posse learned that 
Murieta and six men were at a place called Freeman's Camp, 
and when they arrived they found the bodies of three Chinese 
who had just been murdered and five others who were dying. 
One of these unfortunates was still conscious and informed the 
posse that Murieta had just robbed them of $3000.00. The 
Chinese in this neighborhood then became terror-stricken and 
flocked to the larger towns for protection. 

On the night of April 1 it was learned that Murieta and 
six other Mexicans were asleep in a shack located on the out- 
skirts of the little town of Homitas. J. Prescott and a posse 
of fifteen men proceeded to the place and surrounded the 
shanty. Prescott lighted a candle and entered, but as he did 
so he received a bullet in the chest. He fell and the light 
went out. The bandits then fled through different doors. As 
it was dark and the posse was so stationed that they were 
afraid of shooting each other, the desperadoes again escaped. 

Murieta's ability to gather information was marvelous. 
It was thought that only a few members of the posse knew 
who gave the information regarding Murieta's presence in 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 199 

the cabin, yet the next morning the informant's body was found 
hanging to a tree. 

On May 17, 1853, the Legislature passed a bill which 
was signed by Governor John Bigler, authorizing Captain 
Harry Love to organize a company of Mounted Rangers. It 
provided for twenty men at $150.00 per month for three months, 
and their duty was to kill Murieta. 

On July 1, Murieta and seventy of his men reassembled at 
Arroyo Cantoova with 1500 head of horses, in addition to the 
gold they had stolen. Captain Love learned of this move and 
he went to the bandits' camp with his posse, but when he ar- 
rived and saw seventy men against his twenty, he stated that 
he was a government official procuring the names of Mexicans 
employed in rounding up wild horses. This explanation 
seemed to satisfy the bandits for the moment, but the posse 
had only traveled a few miles when Murieta received informa- 
tion which caused him to break camp, and after dividing his 
gang into several small parties, he sent them in different di- 
rections. Love learned of this move and also learned the 
road that Murieta would probably take with his party. 

Shortly after sunrise on July 25, 1853, Love and his 
posse located Murieta's camp and made a rush at the bandits 
before they could procure their weapons. Murieta was in 
the act of washing his beautiful bay mare from a tin basin. 
Realizing that he was at last cornered, he hesitated a moment 
to collect his thoughts, and then called to his companions to 
save themselves, at the same time mounting his mare and at- 
tempting to dash through the posse. He had only proceeded 
a short distance when his mare was killed and Murieta was 
thrown to the ground. He arose and attempted to run, but 
was riddled with bullets. He did not fall instantly, but turned 
toward the posse, threw up his hands and cried, "Don't shoot 
any more boys, the work is done." A deadly pallor then came 
Dver his countenance, but he tried to remain on his feet. His 
knees began to shake and he fell to the ground and died with- 
out uttering another word. 

"Three-fingered Jack" succeeded in procuring his pistol 
and horse and the portion of the posse which followed him 

20O Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

had a running battle for five miles, but they finally killed their 
man, cut off his left hand on which were only three fingers 
and brought it back to prove that the desperado had not 
escaped them. 

Captain Love desired to offer proof other than his word 
that he had killed Murieta and as he could not carry the body 
any distance with his facilities, he cut off the head of the dead 
bandit, and brought it back as evidence. 

Several affidavits were procured from persons who knew 
Murieta and identified the head, one affidavit being sworn to 
before Justice of the Peace A. C. Bain by Rev. Father Dom- 
inic Blaine on August 11, 1853. 

It was subsequently learned that at the time Captain Love 
disturbed Murieta at Arroyo Cantoova, the bandit had already 
perfected plans for a raid that would have made all of his 
previous deeds appear insignificant. 

Steps had been taken to increase the gang to five hundred 
men, many of the new members being then en route from 
Mexico. When they arrived, the whole gang intended to pro- 
ceed to Mount Shasta and then sweep down through the State, 
stealing everything worth while and slaughtering all who op- 
posed them or had at any time antagonized them. They would 
then go into Mexico and disband. 

On May 15, 1854, the Legislature passed a bill allowing 
Captain Love $6000.00 for his services in ridding the State of 

The bandit's head was afterward placed on exhibition at 
"King's" saloon on the corner of Sansome and Halleck streets 
in San Francisco, but the mere possession of it seemed to 
bring bad luck to the possessor. 

Shortly after obtaining it. King became insolvent and the 
head was sold at auction by Deputy Sheriff Harrison to one 
Natchez, a gunsmith. Harrison committed suicide and Natchez 
was killed by the accidental discharge of a pistol. 

The killing of Murieta caused the remainder of his gang 
to become discouraged and the majority of them returned to 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 201 

When Murieta left Arroyo Cantoova on his last trip north 
with his force of seventy men, Rosita, whom he left behind, 
united her fortunes with one Charles Baker. When Murieta 
returned and learned of her unfaithfulness, he located Baker's 
cabin and finding his former sweetheart, shot her in the arm 
and cut her across the face and breast, leaving her for dead. 
He then burned the cabin. 

In 1872, about eighteen years after Murieta's death, Rosita 
met Sheriff Harry Morse of Alameda and Sheriff Tom Cun- 
ningham of Stockton in San Benito County and showed them 
the scars from the wounds she received on that occasion. 
Sheriff Morse stated that she was still a fine-looking woman. 

After the extermination of this gang, Juan Soto, Noratto 
Ponce, Narciso Bojorques, Antonio Garcia, Tiburcio Vasquez 
and Cleovara Chevez were at different times the leader of the 
gang of bandits which operated throughout the lower half of 
the State from 1860 to 1875. 

After committing a series of crimes in the southern part 
of the State, Bojorques arrived in Alameda in 1863, and after 
murdering Mr. and Mrs. Golding and child, he stole their 
property and burned their cabin. 

A few months afterward, he and another Mexican named 
Quarte, stole a band of cattle, but when the time came to 
divide the proceeds, Bojorques murdered his partner in crime. 
He then fled to Los Angeles, but in 1865 Sheriff Harry Morse 
located him near San Jose and after a pistol duel with the 
sheriff, during which the bandit was shot in the body, he 
escaped, only to be killed five months afterward in a saloon 
at Cppperopolis by an American bandit called "One-eyed Jack." 

In 1865, Ponce shot and killed an old man named Joy in 
the town of Haywards, and then mounting his horse, he 

Sheriff Morse started in pursuit and a few evenings after- 
ward as it was growing dark, the sheriff met Ponce. Both 
men began firing simultaneously, 

Morse shot Ponce's horse and the bandit fell to the ground, 
but jumped up and escaped in the darkness. The next day 
Morse found Ponce's coat saturated with blood, and six weeks 

202 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

afterward he learned that the wounded desperado was being 
nursed back to health at the home of Jose Rojos, in Contra 
Costa County. 

Morse proceeded to the place, and as he came in sight of 
the house, he saw Ponce slipping off into the brush. Both 
men then opened fire, but Morse was again victorious, for the 
bandit fell dead from a bullet through the head. 

In 1871, Thomas Scott, an ex-assembl)nnan, conducted a 
store at Sunol, Alameda County, and on the evening of Janu- 
ary 10, three Mexicans entered the store, shot and killed the 
clerk, Otto Ludovici, and after ransacking the place, made 
their escape. 

Sheriff Morse ascertained that a veritable Hercules named 
Juan Soto was the leader of this gang. The very appearance 
of this bandit would strike terror to the average heart. 

He was of Mexican and Indian parentage, and had long 
black hair, fierce black eyes and a cruel mouth only partially 
concealed by a stubby mustache and beard. He stood 6 feet 
3 inches in height, weighed 220 pounds and had the strength, 
activity and ferocity of a tiger. 

Morse learned that this gang had a rendezvous in the 
Panoche mountains, about 50 miles from Gilroy. When the 
posse approached the house it was agreed that the members 
should be divided into squads for the purpose of surrounding 
the building, and Morse and a deputy sheriff named Winchell 
entered the house where they found Soto surrounded by sev- 
eral companions, but not known thieves. 

Morse pointed his revolver at Soto and commanded him 
to surrender, but the bandit ignored the order, and his friends 
attempted to overpower Morse. 

The "brave" Winchell then ran from the building, leaving 
the sheriff to fight against this gang, Morse finally freed 
himself and ran out of the house after Soto, who had in the 
meantime escaped from the building. 

When Morse got outside he indulged in a duel with the 
bandit. One of the sheriff's bullets struck Soto's pistol, dis- 
abling it, and the latter ran back into the house for another 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 203 

Presently Morse observed him while attempting to escape 
from a rear entrance. 

The sheriff fired at the fleeing desperado, the bullet strik- 
ing him in the shoulder. The wounded and enraged bandit 
then turned like a cornered tiger and started toward Morse, 
but the latter fired one more shot which crashed through the 
bandit's brain and he dropped dead. 

Tiburcio Vasquez, the most notorious of the Mexican ban- 
dits since the days of Murieta, was born in Monterey, Cal., 
in 1835. 

His parents were respectable Mexicans and gave Tiburcio 
a fair education, but he preferred companions of questionable 
character, and among them was a notorious bandit named 
Antonio Garcia. 

One evening, Vasquez, Garcia and one Jose Guerra were 
attending a fandango in Monterey. 

A quarrel arose between Garcia and Guerra, during which 
a constable named Hardimount appeared upon the scene and 
endeavored to exercise his authority. The combatants imme- 
diately turned their attention to him and he was shot through 
the heart. 

A vigilance committee was then operating in Monterey 
and Guerra was hanged the next day. Garcia fled to Los 
Angeles, but he was subsequently hanged for this murder. 

Although Vasquez was not prosecuted, his downward 
career began about this time. 

He left Monterey and began operating as a horse thief 
in Santa Clara, Merced and Fresno Counties. 

In 1857 he and an old compadre were arrested for horse 
stealing. His companion turned State's evidence and Vasquez 
was sent to San Quentin prison for five years on August 26, 

On June 25, 1859, he escaped with several other prisoners, 
after overpowering the guard and obtaining the keys. 

Vasquez made his way to Jackson, Amador County, where 
he was arrested for stealing two horses, and on August 17 
he was again in San Quentin, where he remained until Au- 
gust 13, 1863. 

204 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

In 1864 an Italian butcher was murdered at a place called 
Enriquita. Vasquez was in the town at the time, but it was 
not then suspected that he committed the crime. 

As there were several Italian witnesses to be examined 
and as Vasquez was the only person in the town who could 
speak both Italian and English fluently, he acted as interpreter. 

Vasquez departed immediately after the coroner's investi- 
gation, which shed no light on the mystery, but it was subse- 
quently learned that he was the murderer. 

Shortly afterward, while riding a horse near Mt. Diablo, 
the animal stumbled, throwing Vasquez to the ground and 
breaking his arm. 

This accident was witnessed by a wealthy Mexican rancher 
whose home was near by, and although Vasquez was unknown 
to this gentleman, he kindly took him to his home. 

The bandit, who had rather pleasing manners and an oily 
tongue, stated that his name was Rafael Moreno ; that he had 
just arrived from Mexico, and was without funds. 

This gentleman invited him to stay at his home until he 
had recovered, but his recovery was very slow, due to the fact 
that his host had a pretty young daughter named Anita, who 
fell in love with the slippery bandit. 

One morning Anita and Vasquez were missing and the 
enraged father mounted his fleetest horse and started in 

He got close enough to Vasquez to fire a shot, which 
struck the ingrate's arm, but the daughter was rescued and 
returned to her home. 

On January 18, 1867, Vasquez was again sent to San 
Quentin for stealing cattle in Sonora County, and was dis- 
charged on June 4, 1871. 

After being liberated, he became a constant visitor at 
the home of Abelardo Salazar in San Juan, but it was not 
until Salazar's buxom young wife disappeared with Vasquez 
that Salazar understood the object of the bandit's frequent 
visits. Vasquez soon grew tired of his companion and de- 
serted her. 

Shortly afterward he met Salazar in San Juan and after 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 205 

a bitter quarrel both men drew their pistols and fired, but 
the only damage done was a wound in Vasquez's neck. 

As soon as this wound healed, Vasquez with two other 
Mexicans named Bassinez and Rodriquez, held up a stage at 
San Felipe. The six passengers were bound and robbed and 
left helpless on the road. The three bandits then started 
toward San Juan, but on the road they met Thomas McMahon, 
the treasurer of San Benito County and robbed him of several 
hundred dollars. 

Rodriquez was captured and sent to San Quentin prison 
for ten years, where he died. 

A posse started in pursuit of Vasquez and Bassinez, and 
overtook them near Santa Cruz. A desperate battle occurred 
during which Bassinez was killed and Vasquez and a constable 
-were seriously wounded. 

Notwithstanding his injuries, Vasquez mounted his horse 
and escaped. He remained in seclusion until his wounds 
healed. In the fall of 1871, his niece, Concepcion Espinosa, 
was living with one Jose Castro, who conducted a saloon about 
twenty-five miles from HoUister, California. 

Vasquez visited them and induced Castro to assist him 
to hold up the San Benito stage about ten miles from Castro's 
place, and a considerable amount of money was stolen, A 
posse was organized and Castro was captured and lynched, 
but Vasquez again escaped. 

In January, 1873, Vasquez became the guest of Abdon 
Leiva and wife at their home at Cantua Creek. Here a new 
gang was organized consisting of Vasquez, Clodovea Chavez, 
Leiva, Moreno and Gonzalez. 

They committed several unimportant holdups, but on 
August 26, 1873, they planned and executed a raid on Snyder's 
general merchandise store and saloon at Tres Pinos, San 
Benito County. Levia and Gonzalez preceded the gang to 
the store and spent their time at the bar until their companions 
arrived — the other three being delayed as they stopped and 
robbed the New Idria stage, which they chanced to meet on 
the road. 

2o6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

L. C. Smith, a blacksmith, Andrew Snyder, the proprietor 
of the store, John Utzerath, a clerk, and three others were in 
the store at the time the first two bandits arrived, and when 
the gang was reinforced by the other three, pistols were 
drawn and the victims ordered to lie down while one of the 
bandits bound each one. 

At this moment, a sheep-herder named Barney Bihury 
entered the store and Gonzalez pointed a pistol at his head 
and ordered him to lie down. 

He ignored the command and started to run away, but a 
bullet from Moreno's pistol crashed through his brain, killing 
him instantly. 

The little son of L. C. Smith chanced to pass the store at 
this time and started to run when he heard the shot. Chavez 
g^ve chase, and after knocking the boy down with a blow from 
his pistol, dragged him back to the store. 

As Chavez was about to enter the store with the boy, a 
teamster named George Redford drove up. Chavez pointed 
his pistol at him and ordered him to come in the store, but 
the man was slightly deaf and not hearing the command, 
started to run, but was shot dead by Chavez. 

Leander Davidson and wife who conducted a hotel nearby, 
came to their front door at the sound of the shots and Leiva 
ordered them to go inside. They proceeded to do so, but as 
they were closing the door behind them, Vasquez dashed out 
of the store and fired a bullet which passed through the door 
and killed Davidson instantly. 

After looting Snyder's store, he was released and taken 
to his home by Leiva, where several hundred dollars were 

They then took about eight horses, and after packing 
provisions on the back of each, they departed, Chavez, Vasquez 
and Leiva proceeding toward Los Angeles, the latter's wife 
joining them. 

While camping at a place called Elizabeth Lake, Vasquez 
sent Leiva on an errand, but the latter returned unexpectedly 
and found his wife and Vasquez in each other's embrace. 

Leiva drew his pistol but he was overpowered by Chavez. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 207 

Vasquez refused to fight a duel with Leiva and the latter 
took his wife and decided to surrender to the authorities. 

In the meantime, a posse headed by Sheriff J. H. Adams 
was organized and valuable information was obtained from 
Leiva. But while the latter was assisting the posse, Vasquez 
located Leiva's wife, who deserted her two children to go 
with him. 

They traveled through the country together for several 
months, but realizing the additional risk he ran by having a 
woman with him, he deserted her in the mountains and when 
she finally reached the home of a farmer, she was almost dead 
from exhaustion and starvation. 

Moreno was captured, found guilty of the murder of 
Bihury and sentenced to life imprisonment. 

In the meantime, Vasquez, Chavez and Androtio joined 
forces, and on November 4, 1873, Androtio and Chavez visited 
the cabin of a sheep-herder in the Cholame valley. After this 
man had prepared a meal for them, they killed him and took 
$200.00 which he had saved to enable him to visit his aged 
mother in the East. 

They then mutilated his face and threw his body in a ditch. 
Two men saw them disposing of the body, and the murderers 
seeing this, ran for their horses. Chavez mounted his horse 
and escaped, but Androtio's horse became frightened and ran 
away. The two men who saw the crime committed gave the 
alarm and a posse captured Androtio who confessed and was 

On November 13, 1873, Vasquez and Chavez entered a 
store conducted by a man named Jones about two miles from 
Millerton, in Fresno County, and after binding the occupants, 
obtained six hundred dollars and escaped. 

On the night of December 26, 1873, these two bandits 
with several others, entered the town of Kingston, Fresno 
County, and dividing into gangs, simultaneously robbed the 
two principal stores after they had tied the inmates hand and 
foot. On this occasion they obtained $2000.00 and a supply of 
clothing and provisions. 

Governor Booth became aroused and the legislature passed 

2o8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

a bill empowering the governor to expend any part of 
$15,000.00 in an effort to capture Vasquez. 

Afterward, a reward of $8000.00 was offered for Vasquez 
if captured alive and $6000.00 for his dead body. 

On the afternoon of February 26, 1874, Vasquez and 
Chavez proceeded to Coydte Hole station on the Los Angeles 
and Owens River stage road. When near the building they 
met a Mr. Raymond and to prevent him from giving an alarm 
they bound him to a tree. They then approached the building 
and ordered everybody out. 

Vasquez and Chavez covered them with rifles and forced 
an old Mexican to do the searching. The party were then 
placed on a hillside nearby and ordered not to leave the spot or 
death would be the penalty. 

The bandits then waited for the stage and ordered Davis, 
the driver, to throw up his hands. Mr. Belshaw, one of the 
owners of the Cerro Gordo mines, and several other passengers 
were robbed and several hundred dollars were taken from 
Wells Fargo's box. 

On the next day, February 27, they stopped the Los 
Angeles stage between Mill Station and Soledad and robbed 
the passengers of about $300.00. 

As Vasquez and Chavez knew that Sheriff Morse from 
Alameda County had a posse in that neighborhood disguised 
as surveyors, they remained in seclusion during the month of 
April, but when Morse left they resumed operations. 

On May 6, the desperadoes proceeded to the house of 
Alexander Repetto, near the Old Mission, in Los Angeles, and 
after tying him to a tree demanded $800.00 as a ransom. Re- 
petto sent a boy to Los Angeles for the money, but the lad 
notified Sheriff Rowland instead. A posse was formed and 
arrived at the house in time to see the bandits make their 

Within a few hours after this occurrence, they met 
Charles Miles, John Osborne, Pat Cone and J. Rhodes rid- 
ing in a buggy and relieved them of their valuables. 

On May 14, 1874, it was learned that Vasquez was at 
the home of a man named "Greek George," near Los An- 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 209 

geles. A posse from Los Angeles, consisting of Sheriff 
Rowland, Undersheriff Johnson, Major H. M. Mitchell and 
G. A. Beers, special correspondent for the San Francisco 
Chronicle, procured a wood wagon and instructed the driver 
to proceed to George's house. The posse was concealed in 
the bed of the wagon and when they arrived at the house 
they jumped out and surrounded the building. A woman 
opened the door and then gave the alarm to Vasquez, who 
jumped through a window. He was confronted by several 
armed men, but instead of surrendering, he attempted to 
escape and was shot eight times. He then surrendered, 
but it was thought that he would die from his wounds. 
He recovered, however, and was indicted for the murders 
committed at Tres Pinos in San Benito County. 

On January 5, 1875, his trial began in the District Court 
at San Jose. On January 10 he was found guilty and on 
March 19, 1875, he was hanged. 

While Vasquez was in custody, Chavez, who was still 
enjoying his liberty, addressed a communication to the 
authorities in which he threatened to kill every one who in 
any manner assisted in the prosecution of Vasquez. The 
condemned man heard of this and caused a message to 
Chavez to be published, in which he disapproved of the 
action contemplated and advised his former companion to 
change his course of life, lest he, too, die on the gallows. 

Vasquez' word was the only law which Chavez recog- 
nized, and he not only abandoned this plan but proceeded 
to Arizona, where he procured legitimate employment at 
Baker's Rancho, sixty miles from Yuma. He was recog- 
nized by Louis Raggio, a former cattle-herder in Califor- 
nia, who informed C. S. Calvig and Harry Roberts of the 
bandit's presence. As a reward was offered for Chavez, 
dead or alive, these two men went to the ranch and on 
meeting Chavez, ordered him to throw up his hands. In- 
stead of complying with the order, the former bandit started 
to run, whereupon Calvig poured the contents of a shotgun 
into his back and he died without uttering a word. 

This was the end of the Mexican bandits. 

2IO Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On January 14, 1861, the body of a man was found by 
a fence, some distance from a road leading into a little 
town then called San Antonio, but now East Oakland. The 
head was almost entirely severed from the body, which was 
somewhat decomposed. 

As no one in that neighborhood could identify the 
corpse, it was brought to San Francisco, where it was recog- 
nized by Edward W. Bonney as the remains of G. W. 
Hirsch, who was, up to the time of his death, his partner 
in the stationery business in San Francisco. 

The murdered man was a native of France, 30 years of 
age and unmarried. He had only been in this country six 
weeks and was living at the "What Cheer House" at Sacra- 
mento and Leidesdorff streets, San Francisco. It was at 
this hotel that he became acquainted with Bonney, who in- 
duced him to form a partnership and open a stationery store 
at the corner of Sacramento and Montgomery streets. Busi- 
ness at this location proving unsuccessful, they removed to 
a store on Clay street, opposite the Plaza. 

It was Bonney's conflicting statements which first 
caused him to be suspected of having murdered his partner. 
He first stated that on Sunday, January 2, 1861, Hirsch had 
started for San Jose with $600.00 of the firm's money, for 
the purpose of opening a branch store in that town. 

His next statement was that he had accompanied his 
partner in a buggy for a short distance in the direction in 
which the body was found, but that they overtook two 
Frenchmen, friends of Hirsch, and that he (Bonney) insisted 
upon getting out of the buggy and returning to Oakland, 
leaving Hirsch to continue his journey with his two friends. 

Bonney was taken into custody by Captain Lees, pend- 
ing further investigation. 

It was afterward proven that Bonney, knowing that 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 211 

Hirsch had this money in his possession, induced him to 
accompany him on a buggy ride on Sunday, January 2, and 
while driving along the road, Bonney struck him on the 
head with some blunt instrument and continued to beat him 
on top of the head until he was dead. He then took his 
victim's money but saw no place to dispose of the body with- 
out it being observed by the next person who passed. He 
furthermore feared that because of the teams that were fre- 
quently passing, he might be seen dragging the body if he 
attempted to take it any distance from the road. He could 
not put the body down by his feet without attracting atten- 
tion, so he sat the corpse upright in the buggy, and tearing 
off and using his shirttail, he bandaged almost the entire 
face, to prevent persons whom he passed on the road from 
seeing that he had a corpse for a companion on his Sunday 
afternoon drive. 

He passed a great many people who noticed him and 
what they supposed was an invalid companion. These peo- 
ple were all produced as witnesses for the prosecution. 
When the body was found some of the bandages were also 

Bonney continued along this road until he saw a good 
opportunity to dispose of the body, which he immediately 
took advantage of. The idea then entered his head that the 
mystery would be far more difficult to fathom if the body 
could not be identified, so he attempted to sever the head 
from the body with his pocket knife, with the intention of 
depositing it elsewhere. Either his knife or his nerve failed 
him for he abandoned that part of his plans when the head 
was almost severed from the body. 

Bonney was convicted of murder in the first degree and 
on May 9, 1862, he was hanged. 

212 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


Lloyd L. Majors was born in Ohio in 1837. After re- 
ceiving a common-school education he attended the Grand 
River Institute and afterward graduated from the Ann Arbor 
College in Michigan. In 1870 he was admitted to the bar, 
and after practicing four years he became a Methodist min- 

Meeting with financial reverses, he came to California, 
taking up his home in Los Gatos in 1880, where he opened a 
saloon. The resort was conducted in an orderly manner and 
Majors became quite popular in the town. He was elected 
Foreman of a lodge of United Workmen and was at one time 
appointed Grand Marshal of a Fourth of July procession. 
On another occasion the clergy and the citizens' committee 
unanimously agreed upon him as the proper person to deliver 
the Garfield memorial address. 

Majors did not appear to be adapted to the saloon busi- 
ness and he was in a bad way financially. Finally his saloon 
burned down. At first this was looked upon as a misfortune, 
but it was subsequently learned that he carried a very heavy 

Almost immediately after he received his insurance money, 
Majors began the construction of a forty-room hotel. When 
he had completed the saloon part of the building, work ceased 
and Majors attempted to raise sufficient money to enable him 
to proceed. Shortly afterward, in February, 1883, he an- 
nounced that Joseph Jewell, a painter who had recently ar- 
rived in Los Gatos and had become a habitue of Majors' sa- 
loon, had entered into partnership with him. Majors fur- 
thermore stated that Jewell had just fallen heir to a fortune 
and would furnish the money necessary to complete the hotel. 

About three miles from Los Gatos, and near the village 
of Lexington, lived an old bachelor named William P. Renow- 
den, who was supposed to be very wealthy. As he deposited 
no money in the banks, it was generally believed that this old 
recluse had buried his savings near his isolated cabin. 



•QARL +ba BUM" 



'0 MA 





-A tHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK- •^''"""^^•XoIJer"'"^'^ 


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Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 213 

On March 11, 1883, this cabin was burned to the ground 
and in the ruins were found the bodies of Renowden and a 
Canadian named Archibald Mclntyre. It was evident that 
both men had been murdered. It was subsequently learned 
that Majors had made systematic inquiry regarding Renow- 
den's habits and wealth, even visiting different banks at San 
Jose in an effort to learn if Renowden had any money on 

As Majors, Jewell and an overgrown boy named John 
Showers were observed holding mysterious conferences, and 
as Showers and Jewell were seen acting in a suspicious man- 
ner at Lexington the day previous to the double murder, the 
trio were taken into custody. Showers soon weakened and 
made a complete confession, which was substantially as fol- 
lows : 

"Jewell approached me several days before the murder 
and told me that it was definitely known that old man Renow- 
den had a lot of money secreted in or near the cabin, and 
Jewell suggested that we go to the cabin some night and 
threaten to kill him if he did not tell where it was concealed. 
A week before the murder, Lloyd Majors drove Jewell to 
the cabin for the purpose of looking over the ground, and 
they had dinner with the old man. On the night of March 
10 I met Jewell and we walked to Lexington, where we spent 
the night in a deserted cabin, drinking whisky. We also 
spent the greater portion of the next day in this cabin, but at 
night we proceeded to Renowden's cabin. We knocked at 
the door and I told the old man we were hunters who had 
lost our way and asked him to come out and direct us to the 
road to Los Gatos. When Renowden had accompanied us a 
short distance, Jewell commanded him to throw up his hands, 
but instead of doing so the old man sprang at Jewell and 
called for help. To our surprise, another man, whom I have 
since learned was Mclntyre, ran out of the cabin toward us. 
I shot and killed Mclntyre. I then ran to Jewell's assistance 
and knocked Renowden senseless by striking him over the 
head with a gun. We then dragged him to the cabin and 
restored him to consciousness. As he refused to tell us 

214 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

where his money was hid we poured turpentine over the 
lower part of his body and set him on fire. Again he became 
unconscious and again we restored him. As he still refused 
to divulge the location of the hidden treasure we shot him to 
death. We hastened to Majors' saloon in Los Gatos and 
told him of what had transpired. He gave us some money 
and a bottle of whiskey, and advised us to get out of the 
country. I afterward learned from Majors that late on the 
night of the murder he rode over to the cabin alone and set it 
on fire." 

The three defendants were tried at San Jose for the mur- 
der of Renowden. Jewell was found guilty on May 11, 1883, 
and sentenced to be hanged. Majors was found guilty on 
May 24, and Showers pleaded guilty on May 28. Majors and 
Showers were sentenced to penal servitude at San Quentin for 
life. The latter was used as a witness against Majors and 

After Majors was sent to State Prison, Jewell made a 
confession which fully corroborated Showers' statement. He 
furthermore added that it was part of the conspiracy entered 
into between Majors and himself that Jewell would kill Show- 
ers after finishing the old man, and place the bodies in such 
a position as to make it appear that they had killed each other, 
but the unexpected appearance of Mclntyre upset this plan. 

This confession, voluntarily made by a man within the 
shadow of the gallows, convinced the authorities that Majors 
was the chief conspirator and originator of the plot and should 
also hang. 

On July 23, seventeen days after Majors had been sent 
to State Prison, the Grand Jury indicted him for the murder 
of Mclntyre and the prisoner was returned to San Jose for 
trial. The date for Jewell's execution had been set for July 
27, 1883, but it was postponed until November 30 to enable 
him to testify against Majors. 

The latter was granted a change of venue and his trial 
began in Oakland on October 31. On November 16 he was 
found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. He appealed to the 
Supreme Court, but on March 13, 1884, the higher court re- 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 215 

fused to grant a new trial and on May 23, 1884, Majors was 
hanged.* He was sullen and indifferent to the end. 

Showers was transferred to Folsom Prison on May 6, 
1884, and on May 15, 1899, he was killed by a fellow convict 
named George Putman, a friend of the Majors family, who 
was executed on November 19, 1900, for this deed. 

Majors left a widow and two little boys named Archie 
and Abie, who lived in Oakland after the father's execution. 
The poor woman did all in her power to raise the little fellows 
to be useful citizens and endeavored to conceal from them the 
facts regarding the disgraceful end of their father. 

A few years after her husband's death, she married a 
man named J. H. Wagner. After two more children were 
born, Wagner deserted his wife, leaving her in absolute pov- 
erty. Abe Majors went to work and cheerfully gave his 
earnings to his mother. 

One day some one told him of the history of his father. 
The boy rushed home in a whirlwind of passion, expecting to 
hear that the story was false. The heart-broken mother ad- 
mitted it was true, and the boy left home at once, leaving his 
destitute mother to seek relief from the Humane Society. 

Abe finally returned to Oakland, and he and his brother 
Archie spent much of their time at the home of Bert Willmore, 
a boy who lived with his mother at 1264 Webster street. 

During the month of January and early part of February, 
1896, a series of burglaries was committed in Oakland, Ala- 
meda and Berkeley. In three weeks thirty-five burglaries were 
committed, and in some instances safes were blown open. 

The skillful and successful manner in which these bold 
cracksmen were plying their nefarious vocation, convinced the 
authorities that the work was being done by experienced East- 
ern crooks. 

* Sheriff Hale was compelled by law to execute this man, and 
as it was to him a most painful duty, he fathered a bill which be- 
came a law and which provided that thereafter all executions 
should take place in the State prisons, under the immediate super- 
vision of the Warden. Shortly after this law became effective, 
Hale was appointed Warden at San Quentin, where he was com- 
pelled, during his term, to supervise the execution of many mur- 

2i6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

At 5:30 a. m., February 6, 1896, Officers M. Powers, 
George Kyte and Special James Doolan were standing at the 
corner of Fifth and Washington streets, Oakland, when two 
boys approached. As the officers had become suspicious of al- 
most every one it was suggested that these boys be searched, but 
Officer Kyte laughed at the idea and said: "They're only a 
couple of newsboys." The other officers insisted, however, 
and they were rewarded by finding a coil of fuse and several 
burglar's instruments. The boys also carried large revolvers, 
which they afterwards stated would have been used on the 
arresting officers if an opportunity had presented itself. 

When first arrested, Bert Willmore gave his right name, 
but the other boy said his name was Ralph Ford. That after- 
noon Sheriff White positively identified the other lad as Abe 
Majors, who by a singular coincidence occupied the same cell 
in which his father was confined years before. 

The boys then made a complete confession, wherein they 
related, with the utmost nonchalance, the complete details of 
all the burglaries they had committed during the preceding 
three weeks. To corroborate their statement, they led the 
officers to the Willmore home, where they had deposited their 

They were charged with burglarizing the offices of Charles 
Butler, the grain merchant, and the Girard Piano Company. 
Both boys were sentenced to serve five years on each charge, 
but were paroled on December 24, 1898. On that same day 
C. C. Sullivan, who had served seventeen years of a fifty-year 
sentence for killing a woodchopper named William Shields 
in a saloon fight at Kingston, Fresno County, was also paroled. 

At 1 a. m., October 9, 1899, H. O. Tenny, who roomed 
over Gott's jewelry store at Park and Central avenues, Ala- 
meda, heard a noise at the rear of the store and, looking out 
the window, saw the forms of two men in the back yard. 
Tenny quietly rushed out and notified Officer Hadley, who en- 
tered the yard in the rear of the store on a tour of inspection. 
He soon saw the burglars and several shots were fired by all 
concerned, but none were effective. The burglars escaped but 
were closely pursued by the officer and several citizens who 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 217 

were attracted by the shots. City Marshal Conrad also joined 
in the hunt and as he approached a fence he saw one of the 
burglars. Both men opened fire simultaneously, but Conrad's 
aim was the surest and the result was that he killed his man 

A few moments later the other burglar was found hiding 
behind some brush. He surrendered but gave an assumed 
name. The next day he was identified as C. C. Sullivan, a 
habitue of the Cafe Royal in San Francisco. Up to this time 
Sullivan refused to divulge the name of his confederate, but 
when identified he stated that the dead man was Bert Will- 
more, and that Majors, Willmore and he were paroled on 
the same day. 

On the night of April 29, 1899, two highwaymen held up 
the town of Brigham, Utah, and after thoroughly terrorizing 
the citizens they hastily committed several robberies and fled. 
Sheriff Gordon and a deputy gave chase and engaged the fugi- 
tives in a running fight, during which about forty shots were 
fired, but no one was injured. The robbers then dropped 
much of their plunder and fled to the mountains. The Sheriff 
telephoned to Ogden for assistance and a posse, headed by 
Sheriff Layne and Captain Brown of the Ogden police, re- 
sponded, leaving Ogden at 4 a. m., April 30, for the moun- 
tains. At noon the trail was found and shortly afterward the 
robbers were sighted. A battle took place, during which one 
of the robbers was killed. The other fled and Captain Brown, 
believing he could take him alive, started in pursuit. As the 
officer was gaining ground, the robber turned and fired one 
shot which pierced the officer's heart, killing him instantly. 
The bandit then surrendered. The prisoner stated that his 
name was George Morgan; that he was 19 years of age and 
that the dead bandit was his brother James. He added that 
they hailed from Chicago. 

Several days afterwards, however, it was learned that the 
dead robber was Archie Majors and the prisoner was his 
brother Abe. By this time Abe had fully developed all of 
the characteristics of his fiendish father. Without any sign 

2i8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

of remorse he discussed his past and apparently was abso- 
lutely indifferent as to his future. 

He was found guilty of the murder of Captain Brown 
and was sentenced to be shot on July 7, 1899. A stay was 
granted and on August 14, 1899, he was granted a new trial, 
which resulted in his being convicted of murder in the second 
degree. On October 8, 1901, he was sentenced to life im- 
prisonment at the State Prison at Salt Lake, Utah. 

At 6:30 p. m., on October 9, 1903, Guards Wilkins and 
Jacobs of this prison, were engaged in locking up several of 
the convicts for the night when they were suddenly over- 
powered and unmercifully beaten with pistols which had in 
some mysterious manner been smuggled into the jail. A gen- 
eral jailbreak was attempted, which was led by Abe Majors, 
Frank Drayton, a burglar serving twelve years, and James 
Lynch and Nick Haworth, who were awaiting execution for 
murder. A ladder was procured from the carpenter shop in 
the jail and the convicts were in the act of scaling the prison 
wall when a general alarm was sounded. The two murderers 
awaiting execution escaped, but Drayton was killed and Ma- 
jors was shot through the arm. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 219 


In March, 1907, Erland H. Soderburg, who was em- 
ployed as a pile driver in San Francisco, resided at 463 B 
street, Oakland, Cal., with his aged mother. 

On the evening of March 23, 1907, he returned home 
from work somewhat intoxicated, but the next morning 
he returned to his work in San Francisco as usual. Dur- 
ing the day the neighbors heard Mrs. Soderburg's cat cry- 
ing constantly, and as the old lady had failed to make her 
appearance that day, they decided that she must have gone 
out without feeding the cat, which would be most unusual. 

One lady took some food into Mrs. Soderburg's kitchen 
for the cat, and noticed that the floor showed evidence of 
having been washed, evidently on that morning. Ashes of 
burned rags were also found in the stove. The matter was 
reported to the Oakland police and Detectives St. Clair 
Hodgkins and Flynn were assigned to the case. On in- 
specting the premises they found the badly mutilated body 
of Mrs. Soderburg crowded into a small closet. 

The detectives arrested the son on his return from 
work that night, and under their skillful questioning, he 
broke down and confessed that in the heat of passion he 
slaughtered his mother with a butcher knife, jammed the 
body into the closet, washed up the floor and burned the 
blood-stained rags. 

He was convicted and on May 17, 1907, was sentenced 
to State Prison for life. 

220 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On the night of January 2, 1908, a daring- burglary was 
committed in the postoffice at Campbell, Santa Clara Coun- 
ty, Cal., and among other things, $3,000.00 worth of postage 
stamps were stolen. The thief left no clew as to his iden- 

On the afternoon of January 4, 1908, Police Officer 
James Fenton was patrolling his beat in West Oakland 
and when he reached the corner of Seventh and Pine streets 
he noticed a man approaching who was carrying a suit case. 
The man acted suspiciously and the officer asked him where 
he was going. He replied, "To San Francisco." 

Fenton demanded that he show the contents of his suit 
case, whereupon the stranger drew a revolver and shot the 
officer. Fenton in falling grappled with the man and they 
both fell to the ground. The man attempted to shoot Fen- 
ton again, when a barber named Shields, who was working 
in a shop across the street, ran over, and taking the dying 
officer's revolver from his pocket, shot the officer's assailant. 
Fenton died immediately and the murderer only lived long 
enough to utter one or two unintelligible words, but his 
identity was never learned. 

When the valise was opened it was found that it con- 
tained the stamps stolen at Campbell. 

Shields, the barber, was appointed a special officer for 
his bravery and was otherwise rewarded by the deceased 
officer's friends. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 221 


(From Oakland Police Records.) 

On June 12, 1908, Daniel H. Donohue, a street-car 
motorman residing at 1266 Sixty-second street, Emeryville, 
a suburb of Oakland, reported to Chief Wilson of the Oak- 
land police that his wife Alice, a middle-aged woman, was 
missing, and he requested the Chief to issue circulars an- 
nouncing that he (Donohue) would pay a reward of $10.00 
for information as to her whereabouts. 

He claimed that as he left home on the evening of 
June 11 to attend a lodge meeting, his wife complained of 
severe pains in her head. When he returned at midnight 
she had mysteriously disappeared. He furthermore stated 
that in view of the fact that the woman had left all her 
money and jewelry at home, he was inclined to believe that 
she had become suddenly insane and committed suicide. 

Three weeks after his visit to Chief Wilson, Donohue 
met Police Captain Bock and requested him to have the 
offer of a reward withdrawn as he suspected that his wife 
had left with another man, but shortly afterward he aban- 
doned this theory as untenable and concluded that his orig- 
inal theory was the correct one. 

John Krasky was the manager of the Western Furni- 
ture Factory, which was located on Sixty-fourth street, 
about six blocks from the Donohue home. On August 28, 
1908, his little dog became entrapped under the furniture 
warehouse and a boy employed there, named Frank Walsh, 
while attempting to extricate the animal, discovered three 
shirtwaists, a shawl, a long red coat and a short-handled 
shovel under the building. 

Captain of Detectives Walter Peterson of Oakland and 
Marshal Cary and Deputy Marshal Pippy of Emeryville 
were notified, and they took charge of the clothing. Dono- 
hue was sent for and he immediately identified the articles 

222 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

as wearing apparel belonging to his wife, and he predicted 
that her body would be found in that vicinity. 

Two days later Frank Walsh and Tony Figone were 
digging about the premises in search of the body. Within 
fifty feet from where Walsh found the clothing, they dis- 
covered the badly decomposed body of Mrs. Donohue, 
which had been doubled up and buried about three feet 
under the ground. 

Captain Peterson was present with Donohue when the 
body was unearthed. The latter jumped down into the 
hole with the body and made a display of "grief" that was 
considered almost too great to be genuine and which was 
not at all consistent with his subsequent conduct. 

He was interrogated at great length by Captain Peter- 
son and many of his answers to questions were at variance 
with those previously given. For instance: When he first 
reported the disappearance of his wife, he laid great stress 
on the fact that she had left her money and jewelry at 
home, but when the body was found he claimed that the 
purse containing her money, and her pearl earrings, gold 
watch and wedding-ring were missing. 

The spade found with the clothing was positively iden- 
tified by Mrs. Emma De Verra of 1282 Sixty-first street as 
the property of an old Swedish laborer known as Gustave 
Arkill, who lived directly across the street from the Dono- 
hue home. Mrs. De Verra made a statement substantially 
as follows : 

"Arkill recently used this spake while digging a well 
for me. He frequently watched Mrs. Donohue's actions 
from my home and requested me to do likewise and report 
the result of my observations to him. He furthermore 
stated that, at the request of Donohue, he had on one occa- 
sion trailed Mrs. Donohue to the Globe Hotel in Oakland, 
where she met a man. On the day Mrs. Donohue disap- 
peared I saw Arkill, and he was extremely nervous and 
pale. At that time he had on a pair of striped pants which 
were covered with mud." 

Arkill was arrested the day the body was found. In 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 223 

his pocket was found a black bordered handkerchief which 
Mrs. De Verra identified as one she had seen Mrs. Donohue 
use. A comparatively new tortoise shell back comb was 
found in Arkill's room, which Mrs. De Verra and Mrs. 
W. E. Green of 1267 Sixty-third street identified as one 
worn by Mrs. Donohue just previous to her disappearance. 

Donohue came to Arkill's assistance by claiming that 
the comb and handkerchief were never in his wife's posses- 
sion. The mud-covered pants referred to by Mrs. De 
Verra were found in Arkill's room. He claimed the mud 
got on them years before while he was digging a well. Al- 
though the comb was evidently new, he stated that it was 
the property of his first wife, who had been dead for many 
years. He denied ever owning a spade similar to the one 
found near Mrs. Donohue's body. 

Captain Peterson then investigated Arkill's record and 
found as follows : His true name was Gustave Ahlstedt. 
In 1898 he lived with his first wife at 331 Jessie street, San 
Francisco, who charged that her husband attempted to poi- 
son her by putting strychnine in her coffee, but as she could 
not substantiate her charge the case was dismissed. Shortly 
afterward the couple were divorced in Contra Costa County. 
Ahlstedt returned to San Francisco, where he married again 
and resided with his wife at 51 East Park street, on Bernal 
Heights, San Francisco. 

On January 29, 1902, he came home unexpectedly and 
found his wife entertaining one Thomas Normile of 3274 
Folsom street. Ahlstedt shot and killed Normile, for which 
he was arrested, tried by a jury and acquitted. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Laumeister of 529 Andover avenue, San 
Francisco, swore to a warrant charging that on September 
27, 1906, Ahlstedt broke into her home and stole a deed to 
some land and $40.00. Ahlstedt disappeared and she neither 
saw nor heard of him again until the Donohue murder 
brought his name into the papers. This lady identified the 
short-handled shovel as one she had seen Ahlstedt use in 
San Francisco, and O. H. Adams subsequently testified that 

224 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

he was with Ahlstedt when he found the shovel shortly after 
the big fire in 1906. 

After Mrs. Donohue's clothing was found, Donohue and 
Ahlstedt were observed holding long and mysterious con- 

Donohue claimed that he and Mrs. Donohue were mar- 
ried about ten years previous to her death. He had her 
life insured for $3,800.00, and immediately after her disap- 
pearance he took great care to pay up all her dues and 
assessments. When the body was found he at once de- 
manded the insurance money on the grounds that he was 
her lawful husband. 

On the morning of September 3, the San Francisco Call 
published a history of the life of the murdered woman, 
which was substantially as follows : 

The woman's maiden name was Alice Steward. While 
very young she married a man in Pennsylvania from whom 
she claimed she obtained a divorce. About one year later 
she went through a marriage ceremony at Birmington, Pa., 
with an industrious coal miner named Joseph Barry. They 
lived together for several years and finally came to San 
Francisco. Eventually Barry learned that the marriage was 
illegal because the divorce from the first husband had not 
been properly obtained. Shortly after this they separated 
and the woman went to live with Donohue, who was at 
the time a gripman on the Powell street railroad in San 

This article also exposed the past life of the woman, 
which showed that she was a dissolute character, who had 
associated with many men who bore most unenviable repu- 

On the day this article was published the Coroner's in- 
quisition began. Donohue was to be one of the first and 
most important witnesses examined. At the appointed 
hour he did not respond to the summons and Deputy Cor- 
oner B. H. Sargent and Deputy Public Administrator Flood 
were dispatched to the Donohue home to ascertain the 
cause of his absence. The officials knocked loudly at the 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 225 

doors, but receiving no response, it was finally decided to 
break into the house. There they found the body of Dono- 
hue lying on the floor. Near by was a 38-calibre revolver 
with which he had shot himself through the mouth, blow- 
ing out his brains. By his side was the Morning Call, and 
it was evident that he had been reading the article regard- 
ing the alleged Mrs, Donohue just previous to taking his 
own life. 

A note written by the suicide was also found, in which 
he protested his innocence and charged that Joseph Barry 
committed the murder. Captain Peterson finally located 
Barry at the Midas Coal Mines in Shasta County. But it 
was proven by numerous reliable witnesses that Barry went 
to work in the mines on February 22, 1908, and had not 
been away from that neighborhood for one day since then. 
■ As the body of the so-called Mrs. Donohue was very 
badly decomposed it was impossible to ascertain definitely 
the true cause of death, nor did the Coroner's jury charge 
any person with the murder. 

Although Captain Peterson suspected that Donohue 
murdered his paramour for the life insurance, the evidence 
was not sufficient to justify him in making a formal charge. 

Captain Peterson also suspected that Ahlstedt had a 
guilty knowledge of the crime. 

When Ahlstedt was released he was brought to San 
Francisco and tried on the burglary charge preferred by 
Mrs. Laumeister, but he was acquitted on January 19, 1909. 

226 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


In March, 1884, a small postoffice near Windsor, On- 
tario, was robbed of a considerable sum of money and post- 
age stamps. A few hours later two young men, who acted 
very mysteriously, attempted to cross on the ferry running 
from Windsor to Detroit. They were apprehended by the 
authorities, and after some questioning, it was decided to 
search them. The result was that most of the stamps and 
money were recovered. It was ascertained that the prisoners 
were two Detroit hoodlums named Mathew Kennedy and 
William Callehan. 

While awaiting trial in the jail at Sandwich, near Wind- 
sor, they killed Jailor Leech with pistols which had evidently 
been smuggled into the jail, and then escaped. Callehan pro- 
cured some women's clothing and in that disguise crossed the 
river and disappeared, but Kennedy was recaptured a few 
hours later. He was tried and convicted for this murder and 
was sentenced to serve twenty years at Kingston, Ontario, but 
one year later he escaped. 

On January 29, 1887, the fur store of Benedict & Ruedy 
in Cleveland, Ohio, was burglarized and furs valued at $6000.00 
were stolen. It was learned that Kennedy committed the 
theft and he was arrested at Allegheny City three days after 
the burglary. 

Captain Hohne and Detective William Hulligan of the 
Cleveland police department went to bring the prisoner back to 
the scene of the crime. They left Allegheny with their pris- 
oner at midnight on February 4. When the train stopped at 
a town called Ravenna, four men, including one "Blinkey" 
Morgan, boarded the car and began shooting at the offi- 
cers and beating them over the heads with the butts of their 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 227 

revolvers, until both were unconscious. Kennedy was hand- 
cuffed to Detective Hulligan but the ruffians broke the lock 
and liberated him. The entire gang then fled. 

Detective Hulligan died four days later. These assaults 
aroused great indignation and rewards aggregating $16,000.00 
were offered for the arrest of the gang. 

The Pinkerton Detective Agency located "Blinkey" Mor- 
gan at Alpena, Michigan, in July, 1887, and he was returned 
to Ravenna, tried, convicted and hanged. It was subsequently 
learned that the rest of the gang went to Australia where 
Kennedy, who was afterward known as James Kelley, became 
an associate of two men known as Jack Casey and Jimmy 
Murphy. These men made several trips from Australia to 

In the early part of 1898, Willard R. Green, a Denver 
millionaire who had been visiting in San Francisco, charged 
that Augustus Howard, the owner of the race horse "Yellow- 
tail," had swindled him out of $100,000.00 and then employed 
Kelley, Casey and Murphy to accompany him (Green) on the 
boat which left San Francisco on April 20, 1898, for Aus- 
tralia, for the purpose of throwing him overboard, but they 
did not have an opportunity. (Casey subsequently confessed 
that this charge was true.) 

In May, 1899, the steamer Alameda left Australia for 
America. At Sydney thirty boxes, each containing 5000 sov- 
ereigns (about $25,000.00) were placed on board the vessel. 
Each box weighed ninety pounds and was checked by Purser 
T. C. Smith and Third Mate A. M. Smith as it was brought 
aboard. At the hatch of the specie tank, in which it was 
deposited, each box was again checked by Second Mate Mek- 
kleson, and Chief Officer Rennie, who was in the tank, also 
counted the boxes and supervised the stowing of them. 

Four days before the vessel reached San Francisco the 
steward went to the specie tank and found that the seal had 
been broken. He notified his superiors and a search showed 
that one of the boxes had been stolen, the thief probably using 
a skeleton key on the lock to the specie tank. 

It was suspected that a fellow giving the name of Frank 

228 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Wilson, who boarded the vessel at Sydney but left it at Hon- 
olulu, stole this money. He was believed to be a member of 
the Howard-Kelley gang. 

In September, 1898, Kelley, Casey and Murphy were ar- 
rested on a charge of robbing a warehouse in Melbourne, but 
were released on October 20. 

On November 27, 1898, the National Bank of Auckland 
was robbed of £235, and these three fellows were suspected 
of committing the crime, but as the evidence was not con- 
clusive they were released. They then left for San Francisco, 
arriving in January, 1899. Shortly afterward Captain of De- 
tectives Lees found that the notes stolen from the Auckland 
bank had been disposed of in San Francisco by two men of 
the description of Kelley and Casey. 

On March 30, 1899, a wagon belonging to the Anglo- 
California Bank was stopped by the driver in front of Wells, 
Fargo & Company's office. Just then a handsome, well- 
dressed young man approached and engaged the driver in con- 
versation. At the same time another man stole a sack con- 
taining $10,000.00 out of the wagon. The driver afterward 
identified a picture of Kelley as the photograph of the man 
who engaged him in conversation. 

The next heard of Kennedy, alias Kelley, was in Mexico, 
where he was arrested on a charge of stealing a package of 
notes valued at $10,000.00 from a bank in that city. Again 
he escaped from jail. 

The following is the substance of the statement made by 
Officer J. LeStrange of Berkeley, Cal., on September 28, 1905 : 

"At 1 a. m., this date, I was near Ninth street and Uni- 
versity avenue, when I saw two men a short distance from 
me. As I approached they disappeared, but a few moments 
later I saw four men on San Pablo avenue, two of whom I 
recognized as the men I had seen a few moments previous. I 
was in civilian's dress. They approached me, and after asking 
for information in regard to the car service, they walked down 
the street a short distance and then came back. I walked to- 
ward them, when they separated. One fellow sprang toward 
me with an oath, placed his pistol against my stomach and 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 229 

ordered me to hold up my hands. I pulled out my revolver 
and shot him in the neck, severing his windpipe. He fell in a 
heap. Just then his companions opened fire at me, but as I 

tripped and fell, one said, 'I got the .' They then 

rushed to the dying man, but as he was beyond human aid they 
dropped him and disappeared in the darkness." 

City Marshal Vollmer heard the shots and rushed to the 
scene, but no trace could be found of the three men who fled. 

In the pockets of the dead man were found several safe- 
cracking tools, also a syringe of the variety used for injecting 
nitro-glycerine into doors of safes. There was nothing on the 
body to indicate the identity of the dead man. A picture was 
taken of the face and reproduced in the Chicago Detective. 
On October 8, William Pinkerton and Captain Hohne of 
Cleveland, Ohio, who was almost killed by Kennedy's gang, 
positively identified the picture as the photograph of the re- 
mains of Kennedy, alias Kelley, etc. 


Jacob Oppenheimer was formerly a messenger boy for the 
American District Company in San Francisco, and was noted 
for his depraved habits. After being dismissed from the 
service in 1889, he engaged in a row with Manager Wehe, dur- 
ing which he attempted to cut Wehe's throat. For this crime 
he was sent to the House of Correction for eighteen months. 

On the night of May 1, 1892, he and a man named Law- 
less entered the telegraph office on Sutter near Leavenworth 
street, and held up the clerk. They both wore masks and were 
armed with revolvers. After threatening to kill Clerk John 
Monahan if he made an outcry, they compelled him to open 
the safe and deliver its contents, and they then disappeared. 

On the night of June 11, 1895, Oppenheimer and two 
brothers named Walter and Charles Ross, held up and robbed 
John Mcintosh, a saloonkeeper at McAllister and Leavenworth 
streets, and obtained a small amount of money. Charles Ross 

230 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

was the only one of the trio convicted for this crime, and he 
was sentenced to serve fifteen years at San Quentin. 

In September, 1895, Walter Ross was living with a woman 
named Grace Walls in a Morton-street house. Learning that 
the woman intended to leave him, he went to her den, choked 
her almost to death, and robbed her of a sealskin sacque, jew- 
elry and $150.00 in coin. He was arrested, found guilty and 
in November, 1895, was sentenced by Judge Wallace to serve 
twenty-five years in Folsom. 

In June, 1895, Oppenheimer and Berry Harland com- 
mitted a brutal robbery in the outskirts of Oakland. For this 
crime Oppenheimer was sentenced in August, 1895, to serve 
fifty years at Folsom and Harland was sentenced to life im- 
prisonment at the same institution. 

Oppenheimer pretended to believe that the Ross boys had 
betrayed him, and as Walter Ross was in the same prison with 
him he never missed an opportunity to express his hatred to- 
ward him. On September 30, 1898, as the prisoners were 
standing in line waiting for the door leading to the dining- 
room to open, Oppenheimer caught sight of Walter Ross, 
who was in the same line. He walked up behind him, threw 
his arm around his neck and whipping out a knife he had 
made out of a file, stabbed Ross several times, inflicting wounds 
which caused him to die within an hour. 

He was charged with murder, convicted and sentenced 
to life imprisonment, which seemed a farce in view of the fact 
that he was at the time serving a fifty-year sentence. He was 
then removed to San Quentin. 

On May 15, 1899, while working in the jute mill he com- 
mitted a violation of the rules, for which Guard James Mc- 
Donald reported him to W. D. Leahy, chief guard of the 
jute mill. The next day McDonald caught him violating the 
same rule, and taking him by the arm said : "You denied that 
I caught you yesterday so I intend to prove that I was right 
this time." 

McDonald was forced to drag Oppenheimer, when sud- 
denly the latter drew a knife with a blade eight inches long, 
which he had made in the prison, and drove it into the guard's 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 231 

breast to the hilt. He withdrew it and then drove it in again 
near the heart. McDonald dropped to the floor and when the 
next assault was made he grasped the blade, but Oppenheimer 
pulled it away from him and in drawing it through McDon- 
ald's hand almost cut several of his fingers off. He continued 
to butcher the prostrate guard until Guard Samuel Yoho 
rushed up and knocked Oppenheimer senseless with a cane. 
McDonald staggered to his feet and made a rush at Oppen- 
heimer but was restrained. 

Assisted by two guards McDonald walked to the operat- 
ing room with the blood rushing from his wounds as he ad- 
vanced. When he was stripped and the extent of his injuries 
discovered it was considered a miracle that he did not die 
instantly. There were seven wounds on his body and the air 
whistled through one gaping wound in his chest, which had 
penetrated his lung, every time he drew a breath. But he 
finally recovered and the only additional punishment which 
could be inflicted on Oppenheimer was solitary confinement. 

His last assault, however, resulted in the Legislature add- 
ing section 248 to the Penal Code, which makes it a crime pun- 
ishable by death for a convict serving a life sentence to assault 
any person with intent to produce great bodily injury. 

Oppenheimer was placed in one of the strongest and most 
closely-guarded cells in the prison, from which it was thought 
no human being could escape. Here he remained like a caged 
tiger until about 4 :30 p. m., August 14, 1907, at which time his 
guard, Manuel Silveira, stepped away a few feet to wash his 
hands. As if by magic, the bars fell away, Oppenheimer 
rushed out and fled to the prison kitchen. Here he encoun- 
tered convict George Wilson, who was in the act of cutting 
bread. After a struggle, Oppenheimer obtained the knife and 
stabbed Wilson in the arm and hand. Wilson's cries caused 
the guards to rush upon Oppenheimer, and after a terrific 
struggle he was overpowered. 

It was then learned that he had in some mysterious man- 
ner obtained possession of a sack needle, and with a patience 
and persistence seldom found outside of fiction, ground it until 
he had formed it into a saw, and then for months sawed on 

232 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

the bars at every opportunity, until he had cut six bars, each 
two and one-half inches wide and one-half inch thick. He 
stated that all this was done for the purpose of kilUng a con- 
vict named Jack O'Neil, who was serving thirty-five years for 
a burglary committed in Sacramento, Oppenheimer claiming 
that on one occasion O'Neil betrayed him. 

Oppenheimer was the third prisoner tried for the viola- 
tion of the law passed because of his assault upon Guard Mc- 
Donald. He was convicted and sentenced to be hanged, but 
the case was appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds 
that the law under which he was convicted was unconstitutional 
inasmuch as it was an unusual punishment to hang a man for 
an assault to commit murder. 

The Supreme Court, however, declared that the constitu- 
tionality of the law had already been determined by that tri- 
bunal in the cases of Inijada and Carson, two convicts who 
committed assaults while attempting to escape from Folsom 
prison with "Redshirt" Gordan and others. 

Oppenheimer's case is now on appeal to the United States 
Supreme Court. He has addressed a communication to the 
Legislature in which he attributes his downfall to the fact that 
as a messenger boy he visited dance halls and rooms where 
opium smokers were secretly congregated, and he advocated 
the passage of a law prohibiting "boys" under the age of 
twenty-one from serving as messenger boys. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 233 


Emma Head was born near Jackson, Amador County, 
where her parents were in comfortable circumstances. 

While quite young she married a man named Barrett, but 
after living with him a short time in Fresno, Cal., a divorce 
was granted, and she then married a man named Williams, 
with whom she went to Arizona, 

The woman had his life heavily insured and shortly after- 
ward he died under peculiar circumstances. 

In September, 1902, she was married to Albert N. Mc- 
Vicar in Bisbee, Arizona, by Rev. H. W. Studley. 

They soon separated and she finally became an inmate of 
a brothel. 

Without being legally separated from Mc Vicar she mar- 
ried one Eugene Le Doux in Woodland, Cal., on August 12, 
1905, and the couple resided at her mother's home near 

In the meantime McVicar had obtained employment at 
the Rawhide mine in Jamestown, Toulumne County, and on 
March 11, 1906, he met the so-called "Mrs. LeDoux" in 
Stockton, Cal., by appointment. Being ignorant of the 
woman's bigamous relationship with LeDoux, McVicar went 
to the California Hotel with her and registered as "A. N. 
McVicar and wife." 

The next day the couple purchased considerable furniture 
from Bruener's store in Stockton and ordered it shipped to 

On the following day they came to San Francisco and 
proceeded to the Lexington Hotel, 212 Eddy street, from 
where Mrs. "LeDoux" telephoned to Bruener's requesting that 
the shipment of the furniture to Jamestown be delayed. 

On the evening of their arrival at the Lexington, McVicar 
became ill and the woman sent for Dr. John Dillon, who 
diagnosed the ailment as ptomain poisoning. He administered 

1 .n 

234 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

antidotes and the patient recovered. The next day "Mrs. 
LeDoux" called upon the doctor and requested him to pro- 
cure some morphin for her as she claimed she was addicted 
to the use of the drug. 

Dillon provided her with a vial filled with half-grain 
morphin tablets. 

On March 15, the couple went to Jamestown where Mc- 
Vicar was employed. 

They registered at a hotel as "McVicar and wife" and 
in conversing with McVicar's friends the woman stated that 
they intended to make that town their permanent home. 

McVicar went back to his place of employment, but a 
few days later, on March 21, he quit work and drew from the 
company all the money due him, amounting to $163. 

As a reason for his sudden change of plans, McVicar 
stated that his wife had persuaded him to accept a position as 
superintendent of her mother's farming operations, which 
would be a far more lucrative occupation. 

On March 23 the couple went to Stockton, where they 
called at Brenner's furniture store and purchased additional 
furniture, which was ordered shipped to the home of her 
mother ; but at the suggestion of the woman it was consigned 
to Eugene LeDoux, her "brother-in-law." 

McVicar and wife then proceeded to the California Hotel. 
That evening McVicar purchased three flasks of whisky and 
the couple were seen going to their room at 9:15 p. m. 

The next morning "Mrs. LeDoux" went to the store con- 
ducted by D. S. Rosenbaum and purchased a trunk, which 
she ordered delivered to room 97, California Hotel. 

Shortly afterward she met an expressman named Charles 
Berry and requested him to call at her room for the trunk in 
time for the 1 o'clock train. 

The woman then went to G. H. Shaw's hardware store 
where she purchased some rope to "tie up a trunk filled with 
dishes" from a salesman named Bee Hart. When he delivered 
the rope he jokingly said: "Be careful you don't hang your- 
self," to which she laughingly replied that she would "be 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 235 

At 12:15 p. m., Mrs. LeDoux notified Berry, the express- 
man, that she would not be ready at 1 o'clock, but for him to 
call at 2 p. m. and take the trunk to the depot. 

She sent a telegram to Joseph Healy, a young plumber, 
residing at 1152 Florida street, San Francisco, requesting him 
to meet her that evening at the Royal House, 126 Eddy street, 
San Francisco.* 

After sending this telegram the woman repaired to her 
room, where she packed the trunk and bound it with the newly 
purchased rope, and leaving it for the expressman, she went 
to the depot. 

At 2 p. m. Berry called for the trunk, but as it was very 
heavy he called upon one Joe Dougherty to assist him. 

When Berry arrived at the depot he met the woman, who 
in the meantime had displayed considerable uneasiness because 
of the non-arrival of the trunk, and was at the moment of its 
arrival attempting to telephone to the California Hotel con- 
cerning it. 

The trunk was put on the baggage car of the train leav- 
ing at 4 p. m. for San Francisco, but as the baggage master 
noticed that it bore no check or other identification mark it 
was placed back on the depot truck. 

In the evening it was placed in the baggage room, but 
in handling it the baggage man's suspicion was aroused by 
the peculiar thumping sound when he turned the trunk 
over. Upon investigating further he believed he detected 
an odor similar to that of a human body. 

The police were notified, and when the trunk was 
broken open the body of a man was found. 

This discovery created great excitement and the press 
all over the State gave much publicity to the case. 

The body, which was entirely dressed with the excep- 
tion of coat and shoes, was soon identified as the remains 

♦Healy first met this woman in San Francisco, in January, 
1904, when she represented herself to be a single woman named 
Emma Williams. He fell madly in love with her and as she 
promised to marry him he presented her with a diamond engage- 
ment ring. 

236 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

of McVicar, and it was found that death was due to mor- 
phin poisoning and asphyxiation. 

The day after the body was found, Detective Ed. Gib- 
son, of San Francisco, learned that Mrs. LeDoux met Joe 
Healy in San Francisco. He located the young man, from 
whom he obtained a statement substantially as follows: 

"I received a telegram from the so-called Mrs. LeDoux 
and I met her at the Royal House as she requested. 

"I knew that she had married McVicar, but she told 
me last night that he had recently died an 'easy' death and 
she had shipped his body to his brother in Colorado. 

"When I read the paper this morning and learned that 
McVicar's body was found in a trunk last night at Stockton, 
I showed her the article and she told me that she would go 
to Stockton immediately. She purchased her ticket and I 
accompanied her as far as Point Richmond this morning." 

Gibson then had all stations on the way to Stockton 
notified by telegraph and it was learned that the woman 
left the train at Antioch, Contra Costa County, and pro- 
ceeded to the Arlington Hotel, where she registered as Mrs. 
Jones. / 

She was taken in custody by Constable Whelehan, and 
McVicar's watch and chain were found in her possession. 

When she was returned to Stockton she made a state- 
ment substantially as follows : 

"McVicar and one Joe Miller were drinking in our room 
on the night of March 23d, and Miller put poison in the 
glass from which McVicar drank. The latter soon became 
unconscious and died. 

"Fearing that I might be accused of the murder, I as- 
sisted Miller to put the body in the trunk. Miller and I 
then left for San Francisco and he also accompanied me 
from that city to Point Richmond." 

All the evidence tended to prove that "Mrs. LeDoux" 
alone committed the murder and that her statement re- 
garding Joe Miller was a myth. 

Dr. Dillon, who furnished the morphin ; the salesmen 
who sold the furniture, trunk and rope; the expressman. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 237 

baggage man, hotel attachees and Joe Healy testified be- 
fore the Grand Jury, and the woman was indicted on 
April 2d. 

As it was evident that the defendant had no intention 
of taking McVicar to her mother's home, where LeDoux 
was staying, it was the theory of the prosecution that Mc- 
Vicar was about to discover his wife's bigamous relations 
with LeDoux and that she decided to gain possession of all 
of McVicar's money to purchase the furniture which she 
expected to eventually use in the house she and LeDoux 
occupied, and then prevent the impending expose by for- 
ever sealing McVicar's lips. 

On April 17th her trial began before a jury. She was 
found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, but an appeal was 
taken to the Supreme Court. 

During the empanelment of the jury the court directed 
an order to the Sheriff for a special venire for 75 men. Upon 
the return of the venire the panel was challenged by the de- 
fendant's attorney on the ground that the Sheriff was prej- 
udiced and had expressed an opinion that the defendant 
was guilty and was also actively assisting the prosecution. 

As the trial judge refused to allow the challenge, the 
Supreme Court held that he erred and a new trial was 

The second trial was set for January 26, 1910, but on 
that morning the following letter to her attorney, Charles 
H. Fairall, was made public: 

"Dear Sir : Owing to the condition of my health, which 
has become badly shattered by four years of confinement, I 
do not feel able to stand the strain of another trial. 

"I therefore have decided to plead guilty, and I want 
you to do what you can to dispose of the matter quickly. 

"Yours sincerely, 


Her attorney made an eloquent plea for leniency, and 
Judge W. B. Nutter sentenced her to life imprisonment. 

238 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


In April, 1860, an old man named Mathias Wetzell was 
murdered in Sacramento and robbed of a large amount of 
jewelry and precious stones. 

On July 3d of the same year, William Wells was ar- 
rested in Virginia City, Nev., on suspicion, and some of 
Wetzell's property was found in his possession. Deputy 
Sheriff Wharton, of Sutter County, and George Armstrong, 
a mountaineer of Virginia City, started to take him back 
to the scene of the crime. They reached Marysville on 
July 24, 1860, and the next day started by wagon for Sacra- 
mento. When they reached the town of Nicholas, Driver 
Whitney, in charge of the stage which had just left Sacra- 
mento, informed the officials in charge of the prisoner that 
he had passed a group of men on the road, and he suspected 
that they were friends of Wells, and would endeavor to 
rescue the prisoner. 

As there was another road leading into Sacramento 
from this place, it was decided to travel by that route, thus 
avoiding these men. 

But as the driver was not familiar with that route, an- 
other driver, named W. C. Stoddard, was employed. The 
party left Nicholas at 10 p. m., Deputy Sheriff Wharton, 
taking a seat beside the driver and Armstrong being with 
Wells, who was handcuffed, in the back of the wagon. 

About 1 :30 a. m. the party was nearing Sacramento. 
Armstrong, who had the keys of the handcuffs in his pocket, 
dozed off, and Wells slipped his hand in the sleeping man's 
pocket and, procuring the key, released his hands. He then 
took Armstrong's revolver and shot Wharton in the back. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 239 

Wharton fell over on the horses, which became unmanage- 

The prisoner then shot Stoddard, who died instantly, 
and then killed Armstrong. 

He then fled, but Wharton, who had in the meantime 
disengaged himself from the plunging horses, fired at the 
retreating prisoner, but owing to the darkness the bullet 
went wide of its mark. 

The deputy sheriff, although fatally wounded, crawled 
into Sacramento and related what had transpired to Officer 
Grant. A posse immediately repaired to the scene of the 
tragedy, where the two bodies were found. 

It was then seen that Wells had returned and removed 
all the valuables from the bodies, including the jewelry he 
had previously stolen from Wetzell, which was in the pos- 
session of Armstrong, and was being taken back to Sacra- 
mento to be used as evidence against the defendant. 

Wharton died the next day. 

On May 5, 1874, the Sacramento Union published a 
letter received from a man named E. Chaney of Placerville, 
Idaho, in which he stated that Wells had been killed in 
Washington Territory in 1864 by a member of the party 
with whom he was traveling. 

240 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


Charles J. Flinn, alias Charles Mortimer, was born in 
New Hampshire in 1834, and moved to Sacramento, Cal., in 
1861. He gained the reputation of being an honest and in- 
dustrious man, but evil companions influenced him from 
the path of rectitude, and he finally became one of the most 
notorious criminals in the State of California. 

He began with a series of petty offenses, but in 1862 
he was sent to State Prison from San Francisco for one 
year for robbing Conrad Phiester of $800. 

In 1864 he entered the room of Charles L. Wiggin, on 
Geary street, in San Francisco, and after chloroforming 
him, stole money and jewelry valued at $1500. 

While in jail, Mortimer professed to repent, and as an 
evidence of good faith, he volunteered to accompany Special 
Officer Rose into Santa Clara County where he claimed he 
had buried Wiggin's property, and return it to its rightful 
owner. Rose accompanied him, and when they reached a 
desolate spot, Mortimer observed a place on the ground 
which had the appearance of having recently been disturbed, 
and he informed Rose that that was the spot where the 
property was buried. 

The officer foolishly knelt down and started to examine 
th€ ground, and Mortimer took advantage of his position 
and kicked him on the head. Before the officer could re- 
cover, the prisoner secured his pistol and continued to beat 
the prostrate man about the head until he thought he was 
dead, and then made his escape. 

In 1865 a prisoner was brought to San Francisco from 
Trinity County, en route to State's Prison, to serve a seven- 
year term for robbery. 

Officer Rose had recovered in the meantime, and when 
the prisoner was brought into the station he recognized him 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 241 

as Mortimer and would have shot the prisoner, if he had not 
been overpowered by brother officers. 

Mortimer was Hberated in 1872, and he then became the 
consort of a woman named Carrie Spencer, whom he met 
in a dance hall. He was never prosecuted for the assault on 
Rose, as that person had in the meantime left San Francisco 
for parts unknown. 

In May, 1872, a woman named Caroline Prenel, an inmate 
of a den on Waverly Place in San Francisco, was strangled 
and a man named Henry Beck was arrested for the murder 
and indicted by the grand jury. In a subsequent confession 
made in Sacramento, Carrie Spencer stated that Mortimer 
committed the crime, and to substantiate her confession she 
handed some of the murdered woman's jewelry to the authori- 
ties which Mortimer had given to her. Beck was promptly 
exonerated but Mortimer was never tried for the crime, for 
at the time the Spencer woman made her confession, Morti- 
mer was under investigation for the murder of a woman in 

In 1851, a Mrs. Mary Shaw, commonly known as Mrs. 
Gibson, arrived in Sacramento, and gained considerable no- 
toriety because of her strenuous opposition to the railroad 
company when it was alleged that they sought to appropriate 
her property for railroad purposes. 

She conducted a saloon in Sacramento which was fre- 
quented by people of ill repute and also Indians. About 7 
a. m., September 20, 1872, a man named Chris Weiderholt 
was passing her saloon, when a man who frequented her place 
called to him and said that although the doors of the resort 
were all open, he could not find the proprietress. 

Officer Wentworth was notified and in the woman's bed- 
room her body was found with her head lying in a pool of 
blood, caused from a deep knife wound in her neck which 
severed the jugular vein. She was fully dressed and appear- 
ances indicated that she made a desperate battle for her life. 
In her death grasp she seized a bunch of reddish brown hair, 
evidently from the beard of her assassin. A glass partially 
filled with beer was also found in the room. Upon the arrival 

242 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

of a female relative of the deceased it was ascertained that a 
pocket in her dress had been torn out and $500.00 extracted 

About 2 a. m. on the morning of the murder Officer 
Harris met Charles Mortimer. He had a bundle in his pos- 
session and his clothes were torn and blood was on his face. 
Harris interrogated him as to the cause of his condition and 
when Mortimer stated that he had been beaten by a couple 
of men, the officer accompanied him to his room at the Me- 
chanics Exchange. When the officer learned of this murder 
he repaired to Mortimer's room, and although he was absent, 
Carrie Spencer was in, and she was taken into custody. En 
route to the station the officer met Mortimer, and although 
he wore a reddish-brown beard when he met him at 2 a. m., 
Mortimer was now clean shaven. 

One of the employees of the hotel stated that he noticed 
Mortimer just before he went to the barber shop, and his 
face appeared as though some one had pulled out a bunch 
of his whiskers. Several dresses belonging to the murdered 
woman were found in Mortimer's room. 

It was proved that Mortimer and the Spencer woman 
were drinking in Mrs. Shaw-Gibson's saloon on the day of 
the murder, and a ring found in Mortimer's possession at 
the time of his arrest was identified by Henry Jefferson as 
the property of the murdered woman. 

Dr. J. F. Rudolph, a chemist, analyzed the contents of the 
beer glass found near Mrs. Shaw-Gibson's body and found 
strychnine present. 

On October 10, 1872, the preliminary examination began 
in the Police Court and Mortimer was held to answer before 
the District Court, where his trial began on March 12, 1873. 
At this trial Carrie Spencer testified that on the morning of 
the murder Mortimer returned to their room, woke her up 
and showed her a bundle of clothes and some jewelry and 
about $300.00. She asked him where he got it and he replied 
that it came from the place where they were drinking that 
afternoon, and that he "croaked the old woman so that she 
could not squeal." 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 243 

The Spencer woman then produced several sheets of 
paper which were all written upon, and she stated that one 
day previous to the trial she visited Mortimer at his cell and 
he handed her this paper, and ordered her to commit its 
contents to memory and testify accordingly, or he would cut 
her throat from ear to ear. 

On March 15, the case was submitted to the jury, and 
after deliberating thirty-five minutes they returned a verdict 
of guilty. On March 29, Mortimer was sentenced to be 
hanged on May 16. 

On April 16, at 1 :30 a. m.. Deputy Sheriff Manuel Cross 
was on guard at the jail where Mortimer was awaiting exe- 
cution. He heard the bell ringing at the gate, and taking his 
revolver in his hand, proceeded to ascertain the cause of a 
visit from any one at this unusual hour. When he was pass- 
ing through the yard and was within ten feet of the gate he 
saw a man standing perfectly still. This man was without 
hat or shoes, his coat was turned inside out, and his face was 
partially masked. Upon drawing nearer the officer observed 
that the man had a pistol pointed directly at him. 

Notwithstanding his disadvantage, Cross suddenly raised 
his pistol and fired twice, one bullet passing through this mys- 
terious man's chest and the other through his mouth — ^both 
fatal wounds. Although fatally wounded the man ran into the 
jail and directly to Mortimer's cell, and fell dead in front of 
it without uttering a word. 

The jailor then identified the remains as those of a man 
who had called previously, giving the name of Williams, and 
inquiring as to Mortimer's welfare. Papers in his possession, 
however, indicated that his right name was W. M. Flinn, it 
being recalled that Flinn was Mortimer's right name. 

The next day Mortimer was escorted to Wick & Clark's 
undertaking parlors to view the body. He instantly recog- 
nized the remains as those of his 23-year-old brother, whom 
he had not seen for sixteen years, but he identified him 
through photographs recently received. The dead man bore 
an excellent reputation in the East, but risked his life to 
prevent any member of the family from dying on the gallows. 

244 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Mortimer was in absolute ignorance of his brother's presence 
in Sacramento. 

The condemned man took advantage of the tragic death of 
his brother and used it as an opportunity to feign insanity. 
He cut a lock of his dead brother's hair from his forehead and, 
taking it back to his cell, he pretended to believe that it was 
his brother, and sat watching the hair day and night. He 
even pretended to be enraged if a fly came near it. He 
ceased these tactics, however, when he saw they would avail 
him nothing. 

On May 15, 1873, he was executed in the County Jail, and 
before he mounted the scaffold he stated that his one regret 
was that he could not lay his hands on Carrie Spencer for 
one minute, and then he would gladly die. 


Aaron M. Tullis, an old bachelor, resided on Grand Island 
on the Sacramento River for many years, and by hard work 
and judicious investments he accumulated a fortune estimated 
at $100,000.00, including 667 acres of orchard land which 
yielded him a handsome income. 

At 6 p. m. on August 1, 1878, two men came down the 
river in a duck boat and landed near Tullis' residence. They 
asked the Chinaman at the house where Mr. Tullis could be 
found, and were directed to the orchard where Tullis was 
budding trees. 

About 6:30 p. m. people living across the river heard 
three shots fired, and the next morning the body of Tullis 
was found with two bullet wounds, one in the small of the 
back and one in the neck. 

As none of the valuables were removed from the body and 
as Tullis led a secluded life and did not interfere with his 
neighbors, it was hard to find a motive for the crime. The 
Chinaman gave a very unsatisfactory description of the two 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 245 

visitors, and the prospects of apprehending the murderers did 
not seem bright. 

Immediately after the discovery of the body, Public Ad- 
ministrator Troy Dye applied for letters of administration on 
the estate, but a Mr. Figel, a friend of Tullis', objected to 
Dye acting as administrator and telegraphed to Tullis' brother 
in Texas for instructions. During this time Sheriff Drew 
and Deputy Harrison were cleverly weaving a case around the 
conspirators. While they located people who saw the two 
men in the boat, none of them knew the men, and no further 
trace could be found of them or the boat. The officers con- 
tinued their search on the river, and near Clarkville they 
found a piece of lumber on which some one had been figuring, 
and among other words and figures was found "64 feet." It 
was ascertained that this amount of lumber would make the 
boat described to them, so they took the board back to Sacra- 
mento and began a search of the lumber yards. When they 
arrived at the yard conducted by Walton, at Twelfth and J 
streets, L. B. Lusk, the salesman, identified the words and 
figures as his own writing, and stated that he had sold 64 
feet of lumber to Edward Anderson on July 30, who re- 
quested that it be sent to the home of Troy Dye on I street 
near Twenty-first, where he intended to make a duck boat. 

Anderson formerly worked for Dye when the latter was 
in the butcher business. Dye admitted that the boat was built 
at his home, but he stated that Anderson intended to use it 
to carry himself to his place of employment up the river. 

On August 12, Troy Dye was arrested, and on the fol- 
lowing day Anderson was arrested at his home at L and 
Nineteenth streets. Expressman Stone stated that he hauled 
the boat to the river on the early evening of July 31. 

On August 14, Dye broke down and made a complete 
confession to District Attorney G. A. Blanchard, as follows : 

"I was born in Iowa and I am now 35 years old. I came 
to Sacramento in 1866 and I was first employed as a rancher, 
then as a butcher and afterward I conducted a saloon. On 
March 4, 1878, I took office as public administrator. A few 
weeks later, while Forepaugh's circus was in town, I was in 

246 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

company with Ed. Anderson and several friends, and in speak- 
ing about the income from my new office I explained that I 
received no regular salary, only gi percentage from the estates 
that I administered upon. 

"This put an idea into Anderson's head and without con- 
sulting me, he went that night to the residence of a rich man 
named Jackson whom he saw down town and laid in wait to 
murder him with an iron bar as he returned to his home. 
Fortunately for Jackson he was accompanied by two friends 
and thus his life was saved. 

"The next day Anderson told me of what he had at- 
tempted to do and I admonished him to be very careful. He 
replied that he had already killed two men. He said that 
six years previously he was working on Patton's ranch and 
he killed a man who was the cause of his (Anderson) being 
discharged and threw the body in a well. 

"In the second case the victim was a sheep-herder who 
had a falling out with Anderson and the latter struck him 
with an iron bar after he had gone to sleep and then burned 
the cabin. 

"I continued to conduct my saloon after being elected to 
office, and one night Anderson and Tom Lawton, who resided 
with his mother and sisters in Sacramento, came to my saloon 
and we had a long talk about my office. Shortly afterward 
Anderson went to Yuba City in Sutter County to work, and 
on July 5 I went up after him and discussed the advisability of 
killing Tullis. Anderson w^as agreeable to the proposition and 
agreed to leave his position on July 13 and join Lawton and 
me in Sacramento. He kept his agreement and on the next 
day Lawton and Anderson stole a boat and rowed to Tullis' 
place. The next morning I met the men near Freeport accord- 
ing to agreement, but they stated that they had accomplished 
nothing, as Tullis was away on a visit to friends. 

"Anderson then returned to Yuba City, but came back to 
Sacramento on the 27th inst. He wanted to go after Tullis 
again, to which I was agreeable, but I was opposed to his 
building the boat that they used as I feared it would lead to 
our arrest. I preferred to steal a boat. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 247 

"I loaned my pistol to Lawton and borrowed one from a 
blacksmith named Way to loan to Anderson. They left Sacra- 
mento on the evening of July 31 and took along a basket of 
provisions. On the evening of August 1 they found Tullis 
in his orchard and first knocked him down with a sandbag 
and then shot him twice. 

"They then rowed away and broke up the boat in the 
tules on the Odell ranch, and I met them the next morning 
with a horse and buggy about a mile below Richland." 

When confronted with Dye's confession Anderson weak- 
ened and admitted that it was the truth. Lawton escaped 
before the confession was obtained and was never apprehended. 

While Dye claimed that he had never participated in any 
other crime, it was subsequently learned that his saloon, known 
as the "Sierra Nevada," had been a rendezvous for thieves. 
On March 28, 1878, just a few weeks after Dye took office, 
the body of a young man named George Lawrence, who had 
been a frequenter of Dye's saloon, was found in Tivoli pond, 
north of Sacramento. The day before Lawrence disappeared, 
he delivered his property to a young man, who subsequently 
delivered it to Dye and then suddenly disappeared. 

On October 29, 1878, Dye, Anderson and Lawton were 
indicted for murder, and on January 7, 1879, the trial began 
before the Sixth District Court. Creed Raymond entered a 
plea of guilty for his client Dye. 

The prosecution presented its case, and on January 10 
the jury returned a verdict of guilty with the death penalty 

On January 11, Anderson's case commenced and he also 
plead guilty and was sentenced to be hanged. 

A. F. Clarke was Dye's partner in the saloon business and 
as the defendants Anderson and Dye stated that he had a full 
knowledge of the conspiracy, an indictment was found against 
him, but on motion of the district attorney the case was 

March 13, 1879, was set as the date for the execution of 
Dye and Anderson, but a stay was granted, and the cases were 

248 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

appealed to the Supreme Court, which sustained the lower 
court in a decision rendered on April 22. 

The date for the execution was then set for May 29. 

Anderson remained indifferent to the last, but Dye nearly 
collapsed when he bade his little family good-by, and collapsed 
completely when the cap was placed over his head. 


F. H. L. Weber crossed the plains in 1858, and for thirty 
years prior to his death he conducted a grocery business on 
L street, near the Capitol, in Sacramento; residing with his 
wife on the floor over his store. 

On December 29, 1894, at 9 :30 p. m., A. A. Jost, a partner 
in the business, bade Weber "good-night" and left for his 

At 11 p. m. two neighbors saw Weber moving about his 
rooms with a candle in his hand. 

Shortly afterward they heard the exclamation "Oh !" which 
was immediately followed by a noise similar to one piece of 
steel striking another, but as they attached no importance to 
what they had seen and heard, they gave the incident no further 
thought at the time. 

On the following morning, Mr. Weber's son, Luther, who 
opened his father's store, was startled when he observed a pool 
of blood on the floor of the store, and on looking up saw that 
the ceiling was saturated with the crimson fluid. 

He rushed up the back stairs and there a gory spectacle 
was presented to his view. 

On the kitchen floor he found his father's body with the 
head cleft wide open; his brains having oozed out on to the 
floor, and in the doorway of the same room lay his mother's 
body, butchered in the same frightful manner. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 249 

The sight paralyzed the son for a moment, but when he 
realized what had happened, he fled screaming from the 

It was evident that Weber, St., had heard some unusual 
noise and was in the act of investigating when his neighbors 
saw him with a candle. When he was attacked in the kitchen 
his wife evidently started to his assistance when she was also 

The assassins then ransacked the entire house, and in addi- 
tion to taking two suits of clothing belonging to Weber, they 
stole two watches, $200,00, a revolver and some underwear. 

An ax belonging to Weber was found covered with blood 
in the back yard, and on further search some rough clothes 
covered with blood were also discovered. 

, It was concluded that at least two men were implicated 
in the murder and that they wore Weber's clothing in lieu of 
their own blood-soaked garments. 

On New Year's eve the usual round-up of drunks occurred 
in San Francisco, and as a result the cells at the old California- 
street station were crowded. 

On the following morning, according to custom, the bleary- 
eyed and foul-smelling drunks were placed in a line, and after 
solemnly swearing off for the remainder of the year they were 
released, after being reprimanded by the judge. 

The work of scrubbing out the cells then began, and a 
small gold watch was found behind a toilet in one of the cells. 

It was sent to Captain Lees for investigation, and from a 
description already received, he instantly recognized it as one 
of the watches taken from Weber's house on the night of the 

Luther Weber immediately came to San Francisco and 
identified the watch as one presented to his father. 

In August, 1893, ten prisoners, who were confined in the 
Russian penal settlements on Saghalien Island, made their 
escape, and after enduring almost indescribable hardships, 
finally reached the eastern coast of the island. After procuring 
an open boat they put to sea, where their sufferings from 
exposure, thirst and hunger were about to drive them insane, 

250 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

when they were picked up by the American Bark "Chas. W. 
Morgan," bound for San Francisco. 

When they arrived in San Francisco they claimed that they 
were thrown into the Russian prison merely because of their 
political beliefs. The newspapers published lengthy interviews, 
in which the Russians described at length the suffering they 
had endured, and the good people of the city, believing them 
to be poor, persecuted creatures, showered them with kindness. 

Among these refugees were John Koboloff, alias Ivan 
Kovalov, and two others, named Nikitin and Stcherbakov. 

On June 12, 1895, Deputy Sheriff Martin Hughes in- 
formed Captain of Detectives Lee that he believed that a man 
named E. K. Bennett, of 937 Post street, could impart some 
valuable information regarding the Weber murder case. 

Lees sent for Bennett, but all he knew was that a man 
named L. Stevens, residing at 715 Howard street, was sup- 
posed to know something concerning the crime. 

Stevens was brought forth, and he stated that he had 
become acquainted with a ship carpenter named Vladislav 
Zakrewski, who had gained the confidence of Kovalov, one of 
the Russian refugees. 

Zakrewski told Stevens that he could put his finger on the 
murderer of the Webers, and after swearing Stevens to secrecy, 
stated that Kovalov was not only the murderer but that he 
still had some of Weber's belongings in his possession. 

Detective Chas. Cody and Officer Tom Tobin (now lieu- 
tenant) located Zakrewski in a shack on the Seventh-street 
dumps. He stated that one night Kovalev visited him and 
they spent the evening drinking. Finally Kovalev became in- 
toxicated and, in a burst of confidence, related to Zakrewski 
how he and another Russian refugee named Alatthiew Stcher- 
bakov murdered the Webers. Zakrewski then accompanied 
the officers to Kovalev's room at the St. David house, on 
Howard near Fourth street, where Kovalev and one Arnold 
Levin were found in bed. 

Both men were taken into custody and all of their effects 
were removed to Captain Lees' office. 

The daughter of the murdered couple came from Sacra- 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 251 

mento and she positively identified a pair of suspenders found 
in the possession of Kovalev as the property of her father, 
and pointed to some fancy needle-work she had done on them. 

The incident in relation to the watch found in the prison 
was again a subject for investigation. 

It was ascertained that Kovalev was arrested on New 
Year's eve, while engaged in a drunken brawl with a young 
man named Geo. Petelon, in a saloon at Clay and Kearny 

On June 25, 1895, Petelon was located, and upon being 
brought before Kovalev, immediately identified him as the man 
with whom he was arrested and sent to the California-street 

He furthermore stated that although Kovalev could speak 
the English language well enough to be understood, he could 
not read it, and on New Year's eve, when they first met, the 
prisoner purchased an evening paper and asked Petelon to 
read to him all it contained in regard to the developments in 
the Weber murder case. 

On the night of March 31, 1895, William Dowdigan was 
en route from his grocery store to his residence, in San Jose, 
when he was attacked by three men. Dowdigan had a jack- 
knife in his hand and he stabbed one of his assailants in the 
side, whereupon all three fled. Dowdigan reported the oc- 
curence to the police, who placed little credence in the story, 
but the next day the body of a man, which answered the gen- 
eral description of one of the holdup men, was found near the 
scene of the assault. 

In addition to the wound in the side, the man had also 
been stabbed through the heart. 

Zakrewski informed Captain Lees that he accompanied 
Kovalev, Stcherbakov and Nikitin to San Jose for the purpose 
of committing a series of robberies, but that he changed his 
mind and refused to participate in any crime. Kovalev after- 
ward confessed to him that the remainder of the party held 
up Dowdigan and as Stcherbakov was so seriously wounded by 
the grocer that they would have to leave him behind, it was 
feared that he would fall into the hands of the police and tell 

2^2 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

all he knew, so Kovalev stabbed his companion through the 
heart for the purpose of seahng his lips. 

On June 27, the authorities proceeded to the potter's field 
in San Jose and dug up the body of the highwayman. Al- 
though terribly decomposed, enough remained intact to con- 
vince the officers that it was the remains of Stcherbakov. 

Levin, who was arrested with Kovalev, confessed that 
he accompanied Stcherbakov and Kovalev to Sacramento, but 
when they requested him to aid them in the commission of 
several burglaries, he refused and returned to San Francisco. 
He furthermore said: 

"I saw them again in San Francisco on January 5, and 
they were both well dressed and Kovalev wore a gold watch 
and chain. 

"Kovalev was extremely nervous and when I questioned 
him as to the cause, he began crying and expressed the fear 
that he would be hanged, but would not state what crime he 
had committed to justify such punishment. 

"On another occasion, Kovalev informed me that he was 
implicated in the murder of a large family in Russia and that 
was the true cause of his confinement in the Russian prison." 

On June 28, 1895, Kovalev was surrendered to the Sacra- 
mento authorities, and on July 3 he was held to answer before 
the Superior Court. 

On November 4 his trial began, but was continued for the 
purpose of examining into the prisoner's sanity. 

He was declared to be of sound mind and the trial pro- 
ceeded. After the prisoner saw the amount of evidence which 
had been introduced against him, he took the stand and ad- 
mitted he was present at the murder, but stated that Stcher- 
bakov struck the blows with the ax. 

Kovalev expressed a desire to be hanged as soon as pos- 
sible, as he felt that he would go insane from the mental 
torture he was enduring. 

When the case was submitted to the jury, on November 
30, Kovalev was found guilty of murder with the death penalty 
attached. On February 21, 1896, he was hanged. 

By virtue of the authority found in Section 1547 of the 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 253 

Penal Code, the Governor offered a reward of one thousand 
dollars for the apprehension and conviction of the murderers. 

Captain Lees claimed this reward, but payment was re- 
fused by Controller Colgan on the grounds that Lees was a 
public officer working for a fixed compensation and that he 
merely performed his sworn duty. 

The matter was taken before Superior Judge Troutt, 
who decided in favor of Lees. 

The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court, and 
on March 11, 1898, that Court handed down a decision up- 
holding Colgan's contention. 


At 9 p. m., October 12, 1894, two young men, one very 
tall and powerfully built and the other of medium height, 
halted a track-walker named John Kelly as he was speeding 
along on a track tricycle about seven miles from Davis- 
ville, Cal. 

They relieved Kelly of $5.50, some dynamite cartridges 
used for signaling trains, and his red lantern. Their next 
move was to bind him hand and foot and render the tricycle 

The cartridges were then placed on the track and the 
robbers awaited the arrival of No. 3 Omaha Overland, which 
left Sian Francisco at 6 p. m. 

Presently it appeared, and in response to the wild waving 
of the red lantern in the hands of one of the robbers and the 
explosion of the dynamite cartridges. Engineer Bill Scott lost 
no time in bringing his train to a standstill. 

The bandits then pointed pistols at the engineer and fire- 
man and ordered them to accompany them (the robbers) to 
the third car back, which was Wells Fargo and Co.'s express 

254 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

The fireman was instructed to uncouple the express car 
from the cars in the rear. 

The engineer and fireman were then ordered to accompany 
the robbers to the locomotive and pull the three cars about 
three miles from the remainder of the train, the robbers 
keeping them covered with revolvers all the while. 

When they came to a stop, the fireman and engineer were 
instructed to accompany the robbers to the express car, and 
Engineer Scott was told to persuade J. F. Paige, the express 
messenger, to open the door or he (Scott) would be killed. 

In response to Scott's pleadings, Paige finally opened the 
door, but not before he had fired several shots, none of which 
did any damage. 

The engineer and fireman were then ordered to enter the 
car and carry the contents of the safe, nearly $53,000.00, back 
to the locomotive. 

The fireman was ordered to uncouple the engine from 
the cars. The robbers then entered the cab and throwing the 
throttle wide open they sped away in the darkness, leaving the 
trainmen standing by the track dumfounded. 

After traveling a couple of miles they stopped the engine, 
and after removing their loot, reversed the lever, opened the 
throttle and jumped to the ground. 

The engine returned to the three cars, but as the steam 
was then low, the only damage done was to cave in the end of 
the first car. 

When the robbers jumped from the engine they were about 
two miles from Sacramento, and as their loot was too heavy to 
carry any distance without attracting attention, it was sur- 
mised that the money was cached near the spot where the 
bandits left the locomotive. 

The railroad and express company detectives co-operated 
with Chief of Police Drew of Sacramento in organizing and 
sending out posses after the bandits, but they returned de- 
spondent and empty handed. 

For several years prior to 1895, the Ingleside roadhouse 
was conducted in the southwestern suburbs of San Francisco 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 255 

by aged Cornelius Stagg, who was a jovial host and boon 

At 9:40 p. m., on March 16, 1895, two men, wearing linen 
dusters and white masks, entered the side door of this road- 

At the time the bartender and three patrons were in the 
barroom. The robbers covered the four men with pistols 
and ordered them to throw up their hands. The taller of the 
two then left these four in charge of his companion while he 
proceeded to the rear rooms on a tour of inspection. 

In the sitting-room he found Mr. Stagg conversing with 
Robert Lee, his colored servant. 

The robber ordered the two men to hold up their hands, 
but Stagg, being a practical joker himself, concluded that some 
of his friends were turning the tables on him and merely 
laughed at the command. 

The infuriated robber then sprang at him and struck him 
a terrible blow over the head. 

The negro took advantage of his opportunity and instantly 
bolted for the door. 

It is presumed that Stagg continued to offer resistance, 
for immediately afterward two shots were heard. The tall 
robber then returned to the barroom and after hurriedly re- 
moving the contents of the money-till, about $4.00, the two 
bandits backed out of the place and disappeared. 

The men in the barroom then rushed to the sitting-room 
to ascertain the cause of the shooting, and they found Stagg 
dying from two bullet wounds. 

At 1 :45 a. m., March 30, 1895, the Oregon Express train. 
No. 15, was running at a high rate of speed near Wheatland, 
a small town twelve miles south of Marys ville, Cal., when 
Engineer A. L. Bowser and Fireman Barney Nethercott were 
startled by feeling a pointed instrument against their backs 
and at the same time hearing a command to halt the train. 
Upon turning around they observed two masked men who had 
revolvers in their hands. The engineer lost no time in bring- 
ing his train to a halt at the next road crossing in accordance 
with the command of the taller of the two bandits. 

256 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

The robbers then ordered Bowser and Nethercott to pre- 
cede them to Wells Fargo and Co.'s car. Upon being informed 
that his car would be dynamited if he did not open it instantly, 
the express messenger opened the door and the shorter of the 
two robbers entered and began a search for money. The 
through safe containing the valuables was locked with a 
combination unknown to the messenger, and as the robbers 
had no equipment for blowing open the safe, they handed 
Fireman Nethercott a sack made from the leg of an old pair 
of overalls, and compelled him and the engineer to precede 
them into the passenger cars. The passengers who had not 
gone to bed were instructed to keep their seats and place 
their valuables in the sack which the fireman carried. All 
the passengers in the first car complied with the request with 
the exception of a man named Sampson, who positively re- 
fused to part with his valuables. For his "obstinacy" the tall 
robber beat him over the head with his revolver in a most 
brutal manner. The bandits and their involuntary companions 
then proceeded to the smoking car, where they began opera- 
tions in the same manner as in the first car. 

In the meantime, a colored porter, knowing that Sheriff 
J. J. Bogard of Tehama County was in bed in a sleeping car, 
ran to locate the official and notify him of what was transpir- 
ing. The Sheriff dressed hastily and, pistol in hand, he 
rushed to the smoker. He immediately opened fire on the 
taller of the two masked robbers and shot him through the 
breast, killing him instantly. The shorter of the two bandits 
then began firing, the first shot killing the Sheriff, and the 
next shot seriously wounding the fireman, who still held the 
improvised receptacle for the loot. 

After firing several shots promiscuously, the lone bandit 
backed out of the car and disappeared in the darkness without 
stopping to take the booty from the wounded fireman. The 
train bearing the dead and wounded was then rushed to Marys- 

Peace officers went to work on the case at once. On 
the day following the tragedy. Sheriff Sam Inlow of Yuba 
County and Deputy Sheriff Bogard of Tehama County, a 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 257 

brother of the murdered Sheriff, located a bicycle in the brush 
near the scene of the holdup, and on the same day they found 
another bicycle hidden under a small bridge near State Sen- 
ator Dan Ostrom's home, which was about three miles from 
the scene of the robbery. It was the theory of the officers 
that this was the bicycle upon which the short bandit escaped 
and that the one found in the brush belonged to the bandit 
who was killed. 

As the robbers ordered the train to stop near the spot 
where the bicycle was concealed in the brush, it was presumed 
that the machines had been previously hidden there to be 
used as a means of escape. 

The general appearance and modus operandi of these two 
men convinced the authorities that they were the same men 
who held up the Omaha train near Davis ville on October 12, 
1894, and also murdered old Cornelius Stagg in San Francisco. 

Believing that these men procured their bicycles in San 
Francisco, the machines were brought to the city, where they 
were positively identified by Perkins & Speiker, bicycle agents, 
who had rented out the machines to two men about one week 
previous to the last holdup. When shown a photograph of 
the dead bandit, the members of the firm at once recognized 
it as a likeness of the taller of the two men who hired the 
bicycles. After showing the picture to several people in the 
neighborhood it was finally ascertained that it was a photo- 
graph of the remains of a man known as O. S. Brown, who 
had resided at 626 Golden Gate avenue, San Francisco. 

A further investigation disclosed the fact that a short 
man named John Brady, alias John McGuire, alias Henry 
Williams, an ex-convict who resided at 305 Grove street, had 
been Brown's inseparable companion, but had disappeared 
immediately after the bicycles had been procured. (These men 
had previously served a term in prison for horse stealing.) 

Brady's room was searched and in a trunk Captain of 
Detectives Lees found photographs of Brady and the man 
known as Brown, whose right name was Samuel Browning. 
The newspapers published Brady's likeness, but the bandit re- 
mained under cover for many months 

2^8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

On July 25, 1895, a man entered the grocery store con- 
ducted by Phil Reihl in the village called Freeport, a few 
miles from Sacramento. He purchased a can of oysters and 
some crackers, and while Reihl was wrapping up the package 
the stranger picked up the newspaper of that date. He be- 
came so absorbed in an article that he became unconscious of 
his surroundings and the expression on his face as he perused 
the article attracted Reihl's attention. 

After finishing the article the stranger threw down the 
paper and his suppressed excitement was apparent as he hast- 
ily left the store. Through curiosity Reihl picked up the 
paper and. saw that the article which so aflfected his strange 
customer was in relation to a clew which the officers had 
recently obtained regarding the whereabouts of Brady. The 
grocer immediately telephoned to the Sheriff, who sent Depu- 
ties Alexander McDonald and W. A. Johnson in pursuit. 

At 8 a. m, on the following day the deputies saw a man 
sitting under a bridge near the village of Richland, about 17 
miles from Sacramento. They managed to close in on him 
without being observed, and when they pointed their weapons 
at him he was so surprised that he had no opportunity to resist. 

At first he claimed that he was not Brady and that he had 
never committed a crime, but a sawed-oflF shotgun was lying 
beside him which was subsequently identified as property stolen 
from Wells-Fargo Express car during the last holdup. 

On July 27 the man admitted that he was Brady and 
made a complete confession, in which he stated that Browning 
and he robbed Stagg's place and also committed both train 
robberies. He furthermore took the officers to the spot in 
the tules near Sacramento where he and Browning had buried 
$50,000.00 of the money stolen near Davisville. The officers 
recovered $17,000.00, but what became of the balance re- 
mained a mystery until the year following. 

On July 29 Brady was taken to Marysville by SheriflF 
Inlow to be tried for the murder of Sheriff Bogard. On 
August 13 his preliminary examination was concluded and 
he was held to answer. On November 27, 1895, Brady was 
convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 259 

On the morning of February 7, 1896, a stranger entered 
the office of Detective Hume, of Wells, Fargo & Company, 
and informed him that he suspected that a man known to 
him as Carl Herman had gained possession of the money 
stolen by Browning and Brady, When asked the reason for 
his suspicions he replied: 

"I have a friend named Kohler who is a blacksmith and 
a personal friend of Herman, who until October, 1894, was 
commonly called 'Carl the tramp.' Up to that time he never 
had a cent, never worked and was a typical tramp. Suddenly 
he discarded his rags, arrayed himself in the costliest gar- 
ments and had diamonds galore. He became a constant visitor 
at the racetrack, where he met a woman known as May 
Vaughn. Herman spent money lavishly on her and her female 
cornpanions, and finally fitted up a flat for the Vaughn woman 
at 412 Post street, San Francisco. He then went to Chicago, 
but becoming lonesome, he telegraphed $1,000.00 to May 
with instructions to join him immediately. May got the money 
but did not go to Chicago. Carl then returned to San Fran- 
cisco but not to May. 

"Herman found no difficulty in getting 'friends' to help 
him spend his money and one night he gave a dinner at Zink- 
and's which cost him over $300.00." 

The stranger also informed Detective Hume that Kohler 
had an appointment with Herman at Second and Howard 
streets that morning. Detectives White and Thacker were de- 
tailed to watch the place designated, and at the appointed time 
a man of Herman's description made his appearance. The 
detectives took him into custody and using the information 
obtained from the stranger, they soon had the man so un- 
nerved that he voluntarily made the following confession: 

"My right name is John P. Harms. On the night of 
the Davisville train robbery I slept in the tules near Sacra- 
mento, and on the following morning I discovered a spot 
where the ground had been recently disturbed and covered 
over with leaves in a very careful manner. I investigated and 
soon dug up the golden treasure. I could only carry $33,000 

26o Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

conveniently, so I placed that amount in my blankets and beat 
a hasty retreat." 

The detectives learned of deposits in banks and notes 
which Harms held aggregating $12,000.00. Wells-Fargo 
gained possession of this money through civil suits and Harms 
was charged with grand larceny. He was convicted and on 
May 31, 1896, was sentenced to serve three years in Folsom 
Prison. On October 8, 1898, he was released. 


On May 26, 1904, at the noon hour, a masked man en- 
tered the Bank of Placer County, located at Auburn, Cal., and 
drawing a revolver, ordered the employees present to hold 
up their hands. He then stole $5,000.00 and disappeared. 

At that time, many circumstances pointed toward Adolph 
Weber as the robber. He was the son of Julius Weber, who 
being in prosperous circumstances, retired from the brewery 
business, and resided with his family in the suburbs of Au- 
burn. At the time of this robbery, Mr. Weber, Sr., missed 
a home-made money bag from the house and it was said that 
the evidence against young Weber became so convincing that 
a compromise was effected to avoid a prosecution. 

The Weber family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Weber, 
an eighteen-year-old daughter named Bertha, and two sons, 
Adolph and Earl, aged twenty and eight years respectively. 
Earl was an invalid. 

On November 10, 1904, about 7 p. m., the Weber home 
was burned down. At the time the fire was discovered, the 
son, Adolph, entered a store conducted by one Cohen in Au- 
burn, and purchased a new pair of trousers. He wrapped 
up his old pants and running to his burning home, broke in 
the window with his hand and threw the trousers into the 
flames. In breaking the window, he cut his hand so severely 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 261 

that he became weak from the loss of blood, and spent the 
remainder of the night at the home of Adrian Wills. 

When the fire was first discovered, a man named George 
Ruth broke in the door and found the bodies of Mrs. Weber 
and Bertha in a room which had not been reached by the 
fire at that time. Bullet wounds were found and they had 
evidently been dragged into this room after being killed and 
an eflfort had been made to set their clothing on fire. The 
little invalid boy, Earl, was not yet dead, but died shortly 
afterward from the eflfects of blows delivered on his head 
by some blunt instrument. The body of the father was not- 
found until the following day, and bullet wounds were also 
found in his body. 

At the conclusion of the coroner's inquest on November 
12, 1904, Adolph Weber was placed under arrest on a charge 
of murder. Mrs. Snowden, the aunt of Julius Weber, testi- 
fied that after the murders, she told Adolph that she beheved 
that he knew a great deal about the crime, whereupon he flew 
into a rage and said: "Your turn will come next." 

The trousers which Weber threw through the window 
were subjected to an examination and blood stains were found 

On November 21, 1904, a 32-calibre revolver was found 
under the flooring of the barn in the rear of Weber's house. 
All the shells were exploded and on the handle of the revolver 
was found clots of blood and some of the little boy's hair. 
The murderer had evidently used all of his cartridges in kill- 
ing the other three and used the butt of his pistol to finish 
the invalid child. 

Henry Carr, who conducted a pawnshop on Dupont 
street, in San Francisco, positively identified this pistol as one 
he sold to Weber in July, 1904, when he came to Carr's place 
with a companion, who purchased a pair of brass knuckles 
and a blackjack. 

J. A. Powell, a mining man from Bullion, testified that 
about 7 p. m. on the evening of the murder, Weber entered 
the washroom of the American Hotel and began to wash his 
hands. His actions were so peculiar that Powell watched 

262 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

him very closely, and when Weber observed that he was being 
watched, he fled from the washroom without drying his hands. 

On November 23, Coroner Shepperd and other officers 
were digging in the yard of the former Weber residence and 
unearthed a 5-pound lard can full of $20.00 gold pieces, which 
was evidently the proceeds from the bank robbery. 

When the bank robbery was committed, the robber dropped 
his pistol, which was afterward identified by a pawnbroker 
from Sacramento named Lichenstein, as one he had sold to 

His trial for the murder of his mother began on February 
6, 1905, and on February 22 the jury brought in a verdict 
of guilty of murder with the death penalty attached. 

Numerous appeals were taken; also a stay of execution 
was granted pending his examination for insanity, but on 
September 27, 1906, he was hanged. He maintained the same 
stoical indifference on the gallows as he had shown through- 
out his incarceration. 

Weber's relatives undoubtedly knew that he committed 
the bank robbery, and his motive for committing these mur- 
ders, which have few parallels in the annals of crime, was 
probably for the double purpose of forever sealing their lips 
and to gain possession of the Weber fortune. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 263 


On August 12, 1877, the stage running from Fort Ross 
to Russian River was held up by a lone highwayman wear- 
ing a mask and exhibiting a shotgun. There were no passen- 
gers on the stage and after obtaining $325.00 from Wells- 
Fargo's treasure box, the bandit very courteously bid the 
driver good-day and disappeared. 

On July 28, 1878, the stage running between Quincy and 
Oroville was held up by a robber whose general appearance 
and conduct indicated that he was the same individual who 
committed the Russian River robbery. On this occasion he 
obtained jewels and money valued at $600.00 from Wells- 
Fargo's treasure box. 

After the stage departed, he picked up a Wells-Fargo 
waybill and dedicated the following verse to the company, 
which was afterward found at the scene of the holdup: 

"Here I lay me down to sleep. 

To wait the coming morrow, 
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat 

And everlasting sorrow. 
Yet come what will — I'll try it on, 

My condition can't be worse. 
And if there's money in that box 

'Tis money in my purse. 

Black Bart, P. O. 8." 

As the mail was also robbed on this last occasion, the 
Federal government joined Wells, Fargo & Company in offer- 
ing large rewards, but this did not stop "Black Bart," for he 
held up two other stages within a few months afterward. 
The first was the stage running from Covelo to Ukiah and 
the second was on the road from Weaverville to Shasta. 

On November 3, 1883, the twenty-eighth and last stage 
was held up by this lone and courteous bandit. On this date 

264 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

he stopped the stage running from Milton to Sonora, near 
Copperopolis. The driver, J. McConnell, was the only occu- 
pant, and the highwayman ordered him to unhitch the horses 
and hand out Wells-Fargo's box, from which the robber took 
$4,100.00 in amalgam and $550.00 in gold coin. 

At this stage of the proceedings, an Italian boy with a 
rifle carelessly thrown over his shoulder, came down the road. 
This seemed to alarm the robber, who grabbed his loot and ran. 
McConnell procured the rifle from the boy and fired several 
shots at the fleeing highwayman, who, in his haste, dropped a 
handkerchief on which was a laundry mark, "F. O. X. 7." 
This was the only clew as to his identity. 

Captain Harry Morse took charge of the case. Working 
on the theory that the robber probably visited the country re- 
gions only for the purpose of committing these crimes and 
then probably enjoyed his ill-gotten gains in the metropolis, a 
search was made in the laundries in this city to ascertain who 
received laundry with this mark. 

After a search of the entire city it was finally ascertained 
that T. C. Ware, a laundry agent on Bush street near Mont- 
gomery, used this mark to designate a customer known as 
"Charles E. Bolton." 

Morse then ascertained that Mr. Bolton resided in room 
40 at the Webb House, located at 27 Second street, and that 
he posed as a mining man whose "interests" required him to 
make frequent trips to the mining regions. A "shadow" was 
placed on this building and Captain Morse made frequent visits 
to the laundry office. 

One day while there, Mr. Bolton was seen approaching, 
and Ware agreed to introduce Morse to him, representing 
that he (Morse) was a mining man. When Bolton arrived, 
the introduction took place and Morse stated that he had some 
ore which he wished to have examined, and as Ware had 
stated that Bolton was a mining man, the latter agreed to 
accompany Morse for the purpose of making the examination, 
but when they reached Wells-Fargo's office, Morse took him 
into Detective Thacker's private room. 

Bolton was about fifty years of age, immaculate in appear- 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 265 

ance and an extremely interesting conversationalist. When 
he learned the nature of the investigation he pretended to be 
indignant and threatened those who were detaining him. 

A search was made of his room and a Bible was found in 
which was written: "To my beloved husband, Charles E. 
Boles." Handkerchiefs similar to the one dropped were also 

Boles was then taken to San Andreas, and after a severe 
examination he made a complete confession of the twenty-eight 
robberies he had committed. 

He stated that his right name was Boles, and that he 
served in an Illinois regiment during the Civil War. He 
proudly boasted that he had resolved never to harm a human 
being, and that the shotgun which he invariably carried was 
as harmless as a broomstick, as it was never loaded. He then 
took the officers to the spot in the hills where he had buried 
the proceeds from the last robbery. 

He pleaded guilty to the last robbery and on November 
21, 1883, was sent to San Quentin for seven years. 

During his visits to San Francisco betweeen robberies, he 
ate at a restaurant patronized by a number of local detectives 
and frequently joked with them regarding the inability of 
the country officers to capture "Black Bart." 

In 1899 he was released and stated before leaving prison 
that he would commit no more crimes. 

When asked if he would write any more poetry he replied : 
"Did you not hear me say I would commit no more crimes?" 

Immediately after leaving San Quentin Boles came to San 
Francisco and, after calling on the officers who were instru- 
mental in his conviction, he disappeared, never to be seen or 
heard of again. 

266 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


Captain J. C. Wickersham was born in New York in 1834 
and was a nephew of J. G. Wickersham, the Petaluma, Cal., 

Mrs. Wickersham was born in Masonet, Mass., her maiden 
name being Pickett. She was much younger than the Captain 
and was a small and very pretty brunette. 

The couple were very happy on their well-stocked ranch, 
which was located about twelve miles from Cloverdale, Cal., 
and their many charitable deeds endeared them to all who 
knew them. The only other person on the ranch was their 
Chinese servant, named Aug Tai Duck. 

At this time the Indians were numerous throughout the 
State and were frequently severely chastised when found 
prowling around farm houses, as it was believed that they had 
come only to steal. It therefore became a practice among those 
whose "intentions were honorable," to stand off a safe dis- 
tance from a house where they wished to converse with the 
occupants and call out to attract attention. 

On the morning of January 21, 1886, some Indians ap- 
proached the Wickersham home and called out repeatedly, but 
received no response and saw no sign of life. Instinct seemed 
to tell them that something was wrong, but fearing to enter 
the premises they reported their suspicions to a neighbor named 
J. E. Jewell. The latter immediately repaired to the Wicker- 
sham home, where he beheld a terrible sight. 

The frightfully mutilated body of Captain Wickersham 
was in a sitting posture in a chair drawn up to the dining- 
table, his untouched meal before him. A great gaping wound 
in the chest showed that a load from a shotgun had been 
fired into his body at close range, and the top of his head was 
literally blown off by a similar weapon. 

A search was made for Mrs. Wickersham, and her terri- 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 267 

bly mutilated body was found on the bed. The assailant had 
struck her over the nose and mouth, breaking the nose and 
cutting the lips so that the teeth protruded. She was also 
bound, gagged and foully outraged, and then shot in the breast' 
with a shotgun. 

The terror-stricken Jewell fled from the house and pro- 
ceeded to Skaggs Springs, from which place Sheriff Bishop, 
Marshal Blume, Coroner King and Constable Truitt were no- 

These officers attempted to reach the scene of the tragedy, 
but the heavy rains had swollen the little brooks to raging tor- 
rents and they were forced to turn back. 

The next day, January 22, Deputy Sheriff Cook and Con- 
stable Truitt headed a party and after many perilous advent- 
ures, during which one of their horses was drowned, they 
reached the scene of the slaughter. 

In the kitchen they found an empty shotgun, four empty 
cartridges, and the Chinaman's apron saturated with blood. 

At 3 p. m. on the same day, a Coroner's inquest was held 
at Cloverdale and the Chinese servant was charged with the 

An investigation disclosed the fact that the heathen did not 
linger long at the ranch after committing these atrocious deeds. 
That very night, January 18, he ran through the rain and slush 
to Cloverdale and confessed his crime to his uncle, who advised 
him to flee to San Francisco and thence to China. 

Conductor Mold of the Donohue Railroad stated that on 
the morning of the 19th, a Chinaman of Aug Tai Duck's de- 
scription came running down the track like a wild man just as 
the train was leaving Cloverdale for Tiburon. 

The engineer slowed up, but the Chinaman was so com- 
pletely exhausted that he experienced much difficulty in climb- 
ing up the steps of the car. 

The murderer's uncle. Ah Kum, fearing that he would be 
prosecuted if he did not divulge to the authorities the informa- 
tion he received, proceeded at once to San Francisco and sought 
the advice of Lee Cum Wah, the President of the Ning Yung 
Association, of which both Ah Kum and the murderer were 

268 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

members. It was decided to notify Chief of Police Crowley, 
who instructed Ah Kum to be at the wharf the next day when 
the Steamer Rio de Janeiro left for China. 

Either through a misunderstanding of orders or a fear of 
future consequences, Ah Kum failed to appear at the appointed 
time, and messengers were sent to Chinatown, but they did not 
return with Ah Kum until the vessel was well out to sea. 

It was then learned that the murderer was on board the 
vessel and had purchased his ticket from Hop Wo & Co. 

Chief Crowley telegraphed to Washington to United States 
Senator Leland Stanford of California, who was also the Presi- 
dent of the Southern Pacific Railroad and founder of the Stan- 
ford University, that the murderer had escaped, and requested 
him to ask Secretary Bayard to communicate with the Japanese 
Government for the purpose of having Aug Tai Duck appre- 
hended at Yokohama. This was done and the United States 
Government was notified. Detective Chris Cox of San Fran- 
cisco took the next steamer to bring back the murderer. In 
the meantime it was shown to the Japanese that there was no 
treaty to justify their actions. 

It was therefore decided to turn the fugitive over to the 
Captain of the "City of New York" with instructions to de- 
liver the prisoner to the British authorities in Hongkong. 

While en route to Hongkong, the prisoner became ex- 
tremely melancholy and decided to commit suicide by starva- 
tion, but when he was informed that he would probably not 
have to return to California, he cheered up and ate ravenously. 

On March 13, he arrived at Hongkong and was placed 
in the Victoria Jail to await the arrival of the detective. 

On March 29, at 1 :30 a. m.. Turnkey Thomas Roolf, in 
making his rounds, found the murderer hanging by the neck 
to the bars of his cell. He had defeated justice by hanging 
himself with a silk sash which he wore around his waist. 

It was a most singular coincidence that both vessels carry- 
ing this fugitive were subsequently lost at the entrance to San 
Francisco harbor, and that one of the heroes of the hour was. 
a Chinaman. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 269 

On October 26, 1893, the Pacific Mail Steamer City of 
New York, left the San Francisco Mail dock at 2:35 p. m., 
bound for China. She was in command of Captain F. H. John- 
son and Pilot George Johnson. A dense fog suddenly came in 
from the ocean and the vessel struck Point Bonita at 4:35 
p. m. Although a great number of passengers were on board 
no lives were lost, but the vessel was eventually pounded to 
pieces by the great waves. 

On the evening of February 21, 1901, the Rio de Janeiro 
arrived oflF San Francisco from China, and after taking Pilot 
Fred Jordan on board, anchored outside for the night on ac- 
count of the fog. The vessel was in command of Captain W. 
Ward of San Francisco. The next morning an attempt was 
made to enter the harbor, but the vessel ran into a fog bank 
and at 6 a. m. she struck Mile Rock. In less than ten minutes 
she sank. The water was extremely deep at this point and 
notwithstanding the numerous efforts made, her exact location 
has never been ascertained. 

One hundred and twenty-seven persons were drowned, in- 
cluding Captain Ward and Rounseville Wildman, United States 
Consul-General at Hongkong, and his wife. Although Pilot 
Jordan went down with the vessel he came to the surface and 
was saved by a Chinaman. Two Italian fishermen saved twen- 
ty-two people whom they found clinging to wreckage. The 
only body ever recovered was that of Captain Ward, which 
was found a year later. 

270 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


(From Attorney-General Tirey L. Ford's report to Governor 


On May 24, 1901, some harness was stolen from a barn 
belonging to L. W. Leventon, who resided in Lookout, Modoc 
County, Cal. Several other thefts had been committed and 
the following residents of the county were suspected of par- 
ticipating therein: 

Calvin Hall, a seventy-four-year-old Grand Army veteran ; 
James Hall, his son by an Indian wife ; Frank Hall, an Indian 
adopted by Hall when a baby; Martin Wilson, aged thirteen 
years, son of Hall's former wife, and Daniel Yantis, a white 

On May 25 the suspected persons were arrested on a 
charge of burglary and on May 27, after hearing the evidence, 
the court dismissed the charge against Calvin Hall and contin- 
ued the cases against the other defendants. 

Immediately upon the dismissal of the burglary charge 
against Hall, Robinson Dunlap swore to a complaint charging 
him with petit larceny, but the defendant was released on his 
own recognizance. 

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 30, J. W. Brown, a 
deputy constable, accompanied by four men, went to Calvin 
Hall's home, which was a short distance from the village of 
Lookout, and without authority removed him to Meyers' Hotel 
at Lookout, where the other four prisoners were held under 

About 1 :45 a. m. on May 31, all of the prisoners except 
Calvin Hall, were sleeping on the floor of the barroom in this 
hotel, and under the guard of Brown and one Sid. Goyette, 
when they were aroused from their slumber by a mob of nine- 
teen men, whose faces were concealed with barley sacks. The 
prisoners were bound and gagged and taken to the bridge 
which spans the Pitt River, about three hundred feet away, 
and lynched. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 271 

The mob returned to the hotel and found Calvin Hall 
asleep on a sofa in the parlor. He was then subjected to the 
same treatment the other four received. 

On June 3, 1901, Superior Judge J. W. Harrington of 
Modoc County appealed to Attorney-General Tirey L. Ford 
to send a representative from his office and a detective to assist 
in the investigation about to begin before the grand jury. 
General Ford responded by sending Charles N. Post and 
George A. Sturtevant, now a judge in the Superior Court of 
San Francisco. 

From the beginning, the authorities were confronted by 
apparently insurmountable obstacles, as those who were in a 
position to render assistance were either prejudiced against 
the victims of the mob or feared that they would meet with 
a similar fate if they performed their duty as citizens. 

■ After an examination which lasted nearly a month, indict- 
ments were found against Robert Leventon, Isom Fades and 
James W. Brown for the murder of young Wilson. 

The defendants filed a petition in the Supreme Court to 
prevent Judge Harrington from trying the cases, but the peti- 
tion was denied. 

Detective Eugene Thacker, and afterward Detective Tom 
Gibson of the San Francisco Police Department, were detailed 
on the case and rendered valuable assistance. 

On November 21, 1901, the trial of Brown began at Al- 
turas, and on February 27, 1902, it was concluded. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the Attorney-General be- 
lieved that he had a perfect case against the defendant, which 
was further strengthened by confessions made by John Hutton 
and Claude Morris, who participated in the lynching, Brown 
was acquitted. 

As a result of disclosures made by Hutton and Morris, 
nineteen men were indicted, but as most of the citizens eligible 
for jury duty had fixed opinions which would prevent them 
from serving as jurors, the trial judge informed General Ford 
that it was his opinion that another jury could not be obtained 
and no further action was taken. 

272 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


Dr. A. W. Powers was bom in Vermont, where he stud- 
ied medicine, and in 1855 moved to Bear Valley, about thirty 
miles south of HoUister, where he became a practicing physi- 
cian. At the time of his death he was seventy years of age. 

Although it was conceded that Powers was a first-class 
physician, he was exceedingly unpopular with many of his 
neighbors, and it was alleged that persons incurring his enmity 
were almost certain to have their stock poisoned, but in no 
instance was the proof against him strong enough to justify a 

On September 10, 1885, an incendiary fire destroyed con- 
siderable property belonging to John T. Prewett, a neighbor of 
Powers' with whom he had had trouble, and many persons were 
morally certain that Powers started the fire. 

To add to his unpopularity, the doctor boasted that he 
had evidence in his possession which would send some of his 
neighbors to State Prison for defrauding the United States 
Land office by proving up falsely on their lands. 

On September 17, 1885, Powers spent the day with the 
family of A. R. Severnean, leaving for his home, some three 
miles distant, about 5 p. m. 

Nothing more was heard or seen of him until the follow- 
ing day, when some boy hunters found his body hanging to the 
limb of a tree about thirty yards from the Bear Valley road. 

Sheriff B. F. Ross proceeded to the scene of the tragedy 
and found a gunshot wound in the man's back, and an autopsy 
subsequently performed, showed that the man died from that 
wound and that the body was hanged after death. On the 
shirt of the dead man a piece of cardboard was pinned on 
which was written, "Vigilantes 150." By certain marks on 
this piece of cardboard. Detective Jerome Deasy, of Harry 
Morse's San Francisco Detective Agency, ascertained that it 
was torn from a corset box which came from Freud & Co., on 
Market street, San Francisco. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 273 

Judging from the footprints near the scene of the hang- 
ing it was estimated that about six men participated in the 

As it was known that Prewett felt extremely bitter toward 
Powers, whom he suspected of burning his property, Henry 
Melindy, a nephew of the murdered man, swore to a complaint 
charging him and Andrew Irwin with the murder. 

It was learned that immediately after the burning of Prew- 
ett's property, written invitations were sent out to the neigh- 
bors to assemble at Irwin's cabin to discuss ways and means 
to dispose of Powers. These invitations were in the same 
handwriting as that on the card pinned to Powers' shirt. The 
names of all who attended this meeting were obtained and 
they were arrested. Among them were S. W. Alexander and 
his son Dick. When Alexander Sr. was arrested he broke 
down and stated that while he was present at the meeting he 
did not participate in the hanging, but that his son did. When 
confronted with this statement, Alexander Jr. made the fol- 
lowing confession : 

"Although the meeting was held, nothing definite was de- 
cided upon, but on September 17 I went to Prewett's house 
about 7 p. m., when I saw Prewett ride up the road on horse- 
back and he had a shotgun with him. 

"After supper Prewett and I rode over to Irwin's cabin 
where another meeting was to be held that night. On the 
way he told me that he was riding along the road that day, 
and coming upon Dr. Powers suddenly and unexpectedly, he 
ordered the doctor to throw up his hands. Powers was obsti- 
nate and Prewett shot him in the back. Powers fell from his 
horse and Prewett fired another charge into his back as he 
lay on the ground. He then dragged the body into the brush. 

"When we arrived at Irwin's cabin six or seven of our 
neighbors were there, and a regular meeting was held, Isaac 
Slavin acting as chairman. As soon as the meeting was called 
to order, Prewett described the incidents regarding the killing 
of Powers as already related to me, and then proposed that 
they go in a body and hang the remains to a tree, so as to g^ve 
the impression that it was the work of a great number of peo- 

274 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

pie, who could no longer tolerate the presence of this trouble- 
maker. All present were agreeable to this plan and they then 
stood and, holding up their right hands, took a solemn oath 
of secrecy. It was further agreed that death would be the 
penalty to any one who broke faith. 

"Slavin then took a piece of cardboard from his pocket 
and wrote thereon, 'Vigilantes 150.' We then proceeded to 
the spot where the body was concealed and after Slavin pinned 
the card on the shirt we hanged it to the limb of a tree." 

The detectives visited Freud & Co., the corset makers, 
and ascertained that the only corsets they had sent to any 
person in that part of the country was to Miss Slavin in 
Bear Valley. They identified the mark on the pasteboard as 
being one of the firm's private marks. 

All who were present at the meeting at Irwin's cabin were 
held without bail, except one Stice, whose bail was fixed at 
$5,000.00, but on December 1 all of the other persons arrested 
in connection with the case were released on bail except Irwin 
and Prewett. 

On February 15, 1886, Prewett's trial began. In addi- 
tion to Alexander, a great many other witnesses were pro- 
duced. W. T. Smith, special agent of the Government Land 
Office, testified that Prewett had obtained government land un- 
der false representations. 

W. T. Garner testified that Prewett had threatened to kill 
Dr. Powers and his nephew Melindy, and that Prewett stated 
that he had already killed two men in Colorado. 

On March 2, while the trial was still in progress, the 
charges against all of the alleged conspirators who were out 
on bail, were dismissed, as it was the intention of the prosecu- 
tion to use them as witnesses for the State, but when they 
were placed on the stand they refused to testify, and two of 
them were fined $500.00 each for contempt of court. 

The case was submitted to the jury at 3 p. m. on March 
15, but not being able to agree upon a verdict they were dis- 
charged on the 19th inst. after being out 90 hours. 

It was then learned that when the first ballot was taken 
in the jury room, Juror W. P. Phillips said as he cast his 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 275 

ballot: "Here goes old Phillips for acquittal, and he won't 
change his vote till doomsday," 

On April 1, Phillips was arrested on a charge of perjury 
in connection with answers he gave while being interrogated 
previous to being selected as a juror, but the charge was dis- 
missed by Judge Hoffman. Four years afterward Phillips was 
burned to death in a fire at Fresno, Cal. 

Prewett's second trial began on June 7, but on July 1 
the further hearing of the case was discontinued for the rea- 
son as the minutes of the court show "that it is impossible 
at the present time to procure a jury in this county." 

The case was then transferred to Monterey County, 
where the second trial began on March 5, 1888. The jury 
again disagreed and the case was dropped from the calendar. 

On November 14, 1887, Andrew Irwin was placed on 
trial and on November 29 he was found guilty of murder in 
the second degree. On December 19 he was sentenced to 
San Quentin for life, but an appeal was taken to the Supreme 
Court and a new trial was granted after Irwin had served 
about one year in prison. As there seemed to be no dis- 
position to prosecute the case any further, Irwin was liberated. 


276 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


(From Police Records and George Sontag's Statement to the 


John Contant was born in Minnesota in 1861 and his 
brother George was born in the same State in 1864. Shortly 
after the birth of George, their father died and the mother 
married a man named Sontag, the boys taking the step- 
father's name. 

They lived for some time in the town of Mankato, where 
George was employed as a train brakeman until he procured 
a position in a grocery store in Nebraska. While thus em- 
ployed he embezzled his employer's money and was sent to 
State Prison. 

He had only served about a year when he escaped with 
a fellow convict. As they were wearing their prison garb, 
they burglarized a store that night and, procuring civilians' 
clothes, they disappeared, although Sontag voluntarily returned 
to the prison and served out his sentence, being released in 

John Sontag came to Los Angeles, Gal., in 1878 and 
eventually became a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Rail- 
road. He was injured while thus employed and became bitter 
against the company because of alleged ill-treatment accorded 
him after he became convalescent. About this time he ob- 
tained employment from Chris Evans, who had a farm near 
Visalia, Cal. 

Evans, whose long flowing beard gave him the appear- 
ance of a typical farmer, was always considered a hard-work- 
ing and honest man, and his family was highly respected. He 
had a real or fancied grievance against the railroad company 
which he did not hesitate to express, and the result was that 
he and John Sontag decided to seek revenge and incidentally 
obtain a little "easy" money. 

On the night of January 21, 1889, they boarded the train 
at a station near Goshen, Tulare County, and when they had 


Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 277 

traveled a short distance, they put on masks, climbed over the 
tender, ordered the engineer to stop, proceeded to the express 
car and without any difficulty obtained about $600.00 and then 
escaped. They had tied a couple of horses in the neighborhood 
which they rode back to the ranch, returning to Visalia the 
next day. 

On February 22 they boarded the train at Pixley, Cal., 
and executed another robbery in precisely the same manner 
as at Goshen. With the $5,000.00 obtained in this holdup 
they opened a livery stable at Modesto, but the stable was 
burned down, evidently by an incendiary. 

In May, 1891, John Sontag went to Mankato, Minn., to 
visit his brother George, and in the course of a few days John 
confided to George that he had robbed a couple of trains. 

In June, John started back to California and told George 
before he left that he and Chris Evans had planned to hold 
up a train at Ceres, Stanislaus County. 

They attempted to rob this train and wrecked the express 
car with dynamite, but Detective Len Harris of the Southern 
Pacific Company was on the train, and he stepped out and 
began firing at Evans, who returned the compliment with 
buckshot, but no one was seriously injured. The bandits then 
fled to Modesto without procuring any valuables. John re- 
turned to his brother in Mankato and related what had oc- 
curred, and asked George to suggest a train that they could 
hold up in that neighborhood. 

After studying the situation, George decided that they 
would hold up train No. 3, which left Chicago at nighttime 
and stopped at a station called Western Union Junction. They 
sent their relatives to Racine, Wis., and then went to Western 
Union Junction and waited for No. 3 on the night of Novem- 
ber 5, 1891. 

When the train stopped they secreted themselves near 
the tender and when they had traveled a few miles they 
climbed over the tender, thrust pistols in the faces of the engi- 
neer and fireman, ordered the train stopped and compelled the 
engineer and fireman to accompany them to the express car. 

278 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

They obtained $9,800.00 without any difficulty and returned 
to their relatives at Racine. 

It was then agreed that George should go to Visalia and 
meet Chris Evans, and that John Sontag would follow. When 
George arrived he found Chris Evans sitting as one of "twelve 
good men and true" in judgment in the case of some petty 
offender. When he beheld Evans in the jury box wearing a 
sanctimonious expression and long flowing whiskers, he ex- 
perienced some difficulty in keeping a straight face. 

He left the courtroom and went to Evans' home. When 
the latter arrived at the lunch hour they had a heart-to-heart 
talk regarding further "enterprises," and George loaned 
Evans $200.00. As George Sontag became ill he returned to 
his eastern home on April 24, 1892, before anything could 
be accomplished. John Sontag had returned to California in 
the meantime and he wrote to George to ascertain if he knew 
of any other good opportunity in their line back east. 

George arranged to hold up No. 1 from Omaha at a sta- 
tion called Kasota Junction, and Chris Evans went east to 
participate in the job, which they attempted to execute on 
the night of July 1, 1892. Although George Sontag gained 
access to the express car, he could not locate the money and 
they profited nothing by the venture. 

John Sontag remained in California and George wrote to 
him that he would proceed at once to Fresno, Cal., and that 
Evans would follow. 

The Sontag brothers and Evans assembled at Fresno on 
August 1, 1892, where it was agreed they should hold up pas- 
senger train No. 17, bound from San Francisco to Los Angeles, 
and that the train should be boarded at CoUis, near Fresno. 
August 3 was the night selected, and according to agreement, 
Evans walked out on the country road, where George and John 
Sontag overtook him in a buggy and Evans rode with them 
to Collis. When the train stopped, Evans and George Sontag 
boarded it, concealing themselves near the locomotive, and 
as usual, adjusted . their masks. When the train got under 
way they climbed over the tender and ordered the engineer to 
stop. John Sontag did not board the train but took the team 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 279 

to a spot agreed upon and there awaited the other two. 
George Sontag marched the fireman and engineer back to 
the express car at the point of a gun, and when they 
arrived there Evans blew the door in with dynamite. The 
Wells-Far^o messenger threw up his hands, and George 
Sontag entered the car and seized three sacks of money 
and ordered the fireman to carry one and the messenger the 
other two. They started toward the locomotive which Evans 
crippled with a dynamite cartridge. After taking the two 
prisoners a short distance up the track, they ordered them 
to hand over the money and go back to the train. The two 
bandits then proceeded to the spot where John Sontag was 
waiting with the buggy. They drove George to the suburbs 
of Fresno and he went to the depot, where he purchased 
a ticket for Visalia, taking the same train which he had held up, 
as it was delayed in making repairs to the locomotive disabled 
by Evans' dynamite cartridge. While on the trip he eagerly 
listened to the passengers who described their experience dur- 
ing the holdup. 

John and Evans returned to Visalia in the buggy and 
immediately proceeded to their barn, where they opened the 
sacks and learned to their sorrow that they had only seized 
$500.00 in American money, the remainder being Mexican 
and Peruvian coin. 

George Sontag's actions while in Fresno planning this 
last robbery aroused suspicion and the team which they used 
was recognized as one belonging to J. Sontag and Evans. It 
was suspected that George Sontag knew more about this crime 
than he cared to tell, although the evidence against him was 
by no means conclusive. Accordingly, Deputy Sheriff Witty 
and Detective George Smith called at Chris Evans' house and 
stated to George Sontag that they heard he was a passenger 
on the train at the time of the holdup, and that they would 
be pleased to interview him at the Sheriff's office. After in- 
terrogating him at length Sontag was detained by the Sheriff 
and Witty and Smith returned to Evans' house in a buggy. 
As they approached they saw John Sontag enter the house, 
and when they arrived they told Evans' daughter that they 

280 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

wished to speak to John. The child, evidently acting under 
instructions, stated that he was not in, whereupon the two 
officials stepped inside and, seeing Chris Evans, asked him 
regarding Sontag's whereabouts. He also said John was not in. 

One of the officers then pushed a portiere aside and there 
stood John Sontag with a shotgun in his hand. The officers 
reached for their revolvers, but at that instant Evans also pro- 
duced a shotgun. The officers, seeing that they were taken at 
a disadvantage, turned and ran. Evans pursued Witty and 
shot him, inflicting a serious wound, and when Witty fell 
Evans came up to him and held his pistol at the head of the 
prostrate man, but did not fire as Witty appealed to him not 
to shoot again as he was dying. Sontag fired at Smith but 
the bullet missed its mark. 

Evans and Sontag then went into the house and after ob- 
taining a supply of ammunition, took the officers' buggy and 
escaped. They evidently returned to the Evans' home during 
the night, and on the next day, August 5, 1892, a posse con- 
sisting of Oscar Beaver, Charles Hall, W. H. Fox and Mr. 
Overall surrounded the house, at 1 :30 p. m. Beaver saw the 
bandits take the horse and buggy out of the stable and he 
commanded "halt." Each side opened fire; Beaver was com- 
pletely riddled with buckshot and died instantly. 

Sheriff Cunningham and a posse heard the shots from 
town and hurried to the scene, but the bandits had escaped. 

Nothing further of importance occurred until September 
13. On this date a posse consisting of two Indian trailers 
imported from Arizona, Vic. Wilson of El Paso, Texas, Al. 
Witty, the brother of George Witty, who was the first man 
wounded by the outlaws, Detective Smith, Constable Warren 
Hill and Y. McGinnis of Modesto, drove up to Young's cabin, 
but had no idea that the bandits were in the house, although 
they knew they were in the vicinity. When they reached the 
gate, Evans and Sontag opened fire. Wilson and McGinnis 
fell dead and Witty fell from a shot in the neck; Hill's horse 
was shot dead and the bandits again escaped. 

On October 25, 1892, George Sontag was placed on trial 
for the Collis train robbery, and on October 29 the case was 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 281 

submitted to the jury, which returned a verdict of guilty after 
deliberating one and one-half hours. On November 3 he was 
sentenced to life imprisonment at Folsom. 

A period of several months elapsed without anything being 
accomplished toward the capture of Evans and John Sontag. 
It was evident that they were receiving food and shelter from 
sympathizers in the mountains, and a great many people in 
the valley, who were antagonistic to the railroad and believed 
that there was some justification in the actions of these des- 
peradoes. They made frequent visits to Evans' home in Visa- 
lia and often remained there over night. 

On June 11, 1893, a posse consisting of United States 
Marshal Gard, Deputy Sheriff Rapelje of Fresno, Tom Burns 
and Fred Jackson were stopping in a vacant house when they 
observed Evans and Sontag come down a hill and pass to the 
rear of this house. Evans saw Rapelje and opened fire at 
him. Jackson then fired, wounding Sontag and Evans. Both 
bandits got behind a straw stack and in some unaccountable 
manner they again escaped, although Sontag was wounded unto 

The next day, E. H. Perkins, who lived nineteen miles 
northeast of Visalia, called at the Visalia jail and informed the 
officials that John Sontag was lying helplessly wounded near 
a straw stack in the neighborhood of Perkins' home. When 
the officials learned of Sontag's condition, and having in mind 
the reward, there was a wild race to "capture" the prostrate 
man, and he was taken without a struggle. 

On the following day, June 13, SheriflF William Hall and 
Deputies Al. Witty and Joe Carroll placed Chris Evans under 
arrest at Perkins' home. He virtually surrendered, as he was 
worn out and weak from the loss of blood. 

George Sontag had only been in Folsom prison a short 
time when he began laying plans to escape. He confided his 
plans to convict Frank Williams, a life termer, who told him 
that if he (Sontag) could get some one to furnish the weapons 
to be used in the escape, he (Williams) could have them smug- 
gled into the prison. The friend who Williams believed would 
smuggle guns in was referred to as "Mr. Johnson," but as a 

282 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

matter of fact he was William Fredericks, who had just been 
released after serving a term for robbing the Mariposa stage 
and was subsequently hanged for murdering Cashier Herrick 
in the San Francisco Savings Union Bank at Polk and Market 
streets while attempting to rob that institution in broad day- 
light. (For particulars see history of Fredericks.) 

It was agreed that Williams should write to "Johnson" 
requesting him to call on Mrs. Chris Evans, and that Sontag 
should write to Mrs. Evans, hinting as to the object of "John- 
son's" visit. 

The Sontag and Evans gang while at Evans' home did 
not refer to their weapons as guns and pistols, but named a 
pistol "Betsy" and a sawed-off gun "Mr. Ballard." Sontag 
prepared a letter which read as follows : 

"Dear Mrs. Evans: — A very dear friend of mine named 
Mr. Johnson will call on you, and it is my wish that you will 
treat him the same as you would me. I wish you would in- 
troduce him to Betsy and Mr. Ballard, as he is a very nice man. 
Sincerely yours, 

George Sontag." 

Sontag and Williams then ingratiated themselves with a 
clergyman who frequently visited the prison and who was 
greatly impressed by their outward show of penitence. The 
good man concluded that it was their environments that led 
them astray and not their natural inclination. So when this 
brace of penitents "innocently" asked him to mail two letters, 
he willingly agreed to do so, as he read them and they appeared 
"perfectly harmless." Mrs. Evans refused to assist them.* 

At 3 :30 p. m., June 27, Lieutenant of the Guards Frank 
Brairre was sitting in a chair near the quarry, when George 
Sontag approached him. As Sontag belonged in the stone 

* In a confession made by Fredericks to Detective Seymour 
on March 24, 1894, he stated that it was he who furnished all the 
weapons and ammunition used in the attempted jail break, and that 
he wrapped them in a blanket and left them in the prison quarry. 
He stated that he stole two rifles in a saloon in Visalia and bought 
other weapons and ammunition in Sacramento. Before being re- 
leased from Folsom he promised to assist several of the convicts 
to escape, and on the day of their attempt he was stationed at a 
deserted stamp mill near the prison with clothing to be exchanged 
by the convicts for their prison garb. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 283 

cutters' shed nearly a quarter of a mile away, the Lieutenant 
said : "Well, what do you want here ?" "Rock," replied Son- 
tag sententiously. 

At that moment convict Anthony Dalton approached from 
behind and seizing Brairre said: "We want you." Convicts 
Frank Williams, "Buckshot" Smith, Charles Abbott and Hy 
Wilson then rushed up, and using the Lieutenant as a shield, 
attempted to escape. Williams ordered Brairre to signal Guard 
Prigmore, who was in charge of a gatling gun, not to shoot, 
but the signal was not given in a satisfactory manner, and Wil- 
liams shot over Brairre's head, but it is not probable that he 
intended to kill him for they would then lose their shield and 
would be riddled with bullets from the numerous guns already 
trained on them. All these convicts were armed with rifles and 
knives. They took the guard up the hill and when they came 
to the brink of a deep gulch, he jumped over, carrying Smith to 
the bottom with him. They bounded to their feet about the 
same time, and Smith seized a stone hammer and struck the 
guard on the head, but after a desperate struggle the guard 
overpowered him. When the guard jumped over the cliff the 
gatling guns went to work with deadly effect on Sontag, Wil- 
liams, Abbott, Dalton and Wilson. 

The desperate men then sought refuge behind a big rock, 
but this did not afford protection from all the guns, and in a 
few moments Williams, Dalton and Wilson were virtually shot 
to pieces, and Sontag and Abbott, both dripping with blood 
from their own wounds, piled up the dead bodies of their fel- 
low prisoners and used them as a shield. 

Finally they concluded that there was no possible chance 
for escape and they gave a signal of surrender by placing a 
hat on the end of a rifle barrel and waving it in the air. 

While this battle was raging rumors reached the main 
prison that the convicts had escaped, and the prisoners cheered 
and yelled like fiends until the wagons drove up, loaded with 
the dead and dying prisoners. Like magic a death-like silence 
came over them when they beheld the gory remains of their 
associates and reahzed how completely and tragically the at- 
tempt to escape had been frustrated. 

284 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

It was thought that George Sontag would die from his 
wounds, but he eventually recovered, although he will be a 
cripple for life. 

A young convict named Thomas Schell, from San Fran- 
cisco, happened to be within range of the guns when the firing 
began, and although he did not participate in the attempted 
jail break, he was killed by a chance bullet. 

Dalton was a graduate of Harvard College, but was a 
criminal at heart and was, at the time of his death, serving a 
twenty-year sentence for burglarizing Ladd's gun store in San 
Francisco. While being taken to Folsom to serve this sen- 
tence he escaped temporarily by jumping from the car window 
while the train was running full speed. Williams was serving 
a life sentence for robbing stages. He held up twelve stages 
in five months and held up one stage twice on the same day. 

On July 3, 1893, John Sontag died at the Fresno jail 
from the wounds he received while making his last stand with 

On November 28, 1893, Chris Evans was placed on trial 
for the murder of Vic Wilson, but before the jury had been 
empaneled, George Sontag sent for Warden Aull at the Fol- 
som prison and made a full confession of all of his crimes. 
He stated that he had two reasons for so doing. 

First: Because Mrs. Evans had ill-treated his mother 
when she came to Visalia to nurse John, and had given her 
none of the proceeds of the Collis robbery ; and 

Second: Because he was crippled for life while attempt- 
ing to escape from Folsom, and by assisting the prosecuting 
officers he hoped to secure their assistance when he applied for 
a pardon later on. 

On December 2, George Sontag was brought from Fol- 
som to Fresno and testified against Chris Evans. 

On December 14 the jury, after deliberating seventeen 
hours, returned a verdict of guilty of murder and fixed the 
punishment at life imprisonment. 

While awaiting sentence Evans was incarcerated at the 
Fresno jail where his wife visited him daily, and he was also 
permitted to have a waiter from Stock's restaurant bring his 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 285 

meals into the corridor of the jail, where Evans partook of 

About 6 p. m., December 28, 1893, Mrs. Evans was in the 
prison with her husband when Morrell, the waiter, called and 
took Evans' meal into the corridor of the prison. The prisoner 
was, as usual, permitted to leave his cell and eat in the corri- 
dor in company with his wife and the waiter. When Evans 
had finished, the waiter called to Ben Scott, the jailer, to let 
him out with his tray of dishes. When Scott opened the door, 
the waiter drew a long knife and held it near Scott's heart and 
ordered him to hold up his hands. The jailer thought it was 
a joke, but was convinced to the contrary when Evans whipped 
out a revolver, which Morrell had smuggled in to him, and 
pointed it at Scott's head. Mrs. Evans attempted to grasp the 
pistol, but Evans pushed her away, and Scott believing that 
"discretion was the better part of valor," opened the door and 
Evans and Morrell walked out. 

Before leaving, however, Evans said to Scott: "My wife 
had nothing to do with this and you take good care of her." 
The desperadoes then made Scott accompany them. They 
next met ex-Mayor S. H. Cole. "Up with your hands," said 
Evans to Cole, and proved his earnestness by placing his pistol 
against Cole's chest, and he was forced to join the party. 

When they reached the Adventist Church they met City 
Marshal John Morgan and William Wyatt. Morrell thrust 
a pistol up to their faces and commanded them to throw up 
their hands, and although Morgan was acknowledged to be a 
brave man, he was so taken by surprise that he complied with 
the request, but when Morrell began searching him, Morgan 
threw his arms around the robber whom he and Wyatt were 
rapidly overpowering. Morrell called to Evans, who had re- 
mained some little distance away with his involuntary compan- 
ions. Cole and Scott. Evans left his prisoners, who then fled, 
and he ran to Morrell's assistance. He fired two shots into 
Morgan, who relinquished his hold on Morrell and sank to the 
ground, seriously wounded, while Wyatt ran for help. Mor- 
rell obtained Morgan's pistol and he and Evans ran to a team 
which was hitched nearby, but the animals became excited be- 

286 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

cause of the shooting and as soon as untied they ran away, 
leaving the bandits to make their way on foot. 

After traveling a few blocks they seized a horse and cart 
from a newsboy and escaped. 

Although these men were seen several times after their 
escape, nothing of any moment occurred until February 8, 1894, 
when a posse came upon them, and although several shots were 
exchanged, no damage was done and they again escaped. 

On February 19 the bandits became so bold as to go to 
Evans' home in Visalia, and the information was at once con- 
veyed to the officers, who formed a cordon of fifty men around 
his house about 3 a. m. The outlaws knew nothing of their 
predicament until Sheriff Kay sent a boy named George Morris 
to the house with a note informing them that further resist- 
ance would be foolish. It was now daylight and Evans could 
see that they were trapped. He finally sent his little son out 
with a note to Sheriff Kay which read as follows: 

"Sheriff Kay : — Come to my house without arms and you 
will not be harmed. I want to talk to you. 

"Chris Evans." 

After an exchange of several notes it was agreed that 
Sheriff Kay and Will Hall would go into Evans' yard unarmed, 
and when they did so Evans and Morrell came out, shook 
hands with the officers and surrendered unconditionally. 

Morrell was charged with robbery for forcibly taking Mar- 
shal Morgan's pistol and was sentenced to life imprisonment. 

On February 20, 1894, Evans was sentenced to serve the 
remainder of his life in State Prison. 

After Evans was sent to State Prison, his wife and daugh- 
ter Eva appeared throughout the State in a melodrama called 
"Sontag and Evans," which depicted the bandits as persecuted 

On March 21, 1908, George Sontag was pardoned and ob- 
tained employment as a "floor manager" in Tim McGrath's re- 
sort on Pacific street in San Francisco. He soon left this posi- 
tion and wrote a book dealing with his past life, in which he 
warns others of the folly of wrongdoing. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 287 


Jas. C. Dunham was a native of Santa Clara County, Cal., 
and at the time of his disappearance he was 32 years old. 

His mother died in San Jose in 1893, and it is said that 
she was possessed of such an ungovernable temper that she 
was known as "Kate the Terror." Her disposition seems to 
have been inherited by her son James, who was extremely 
violent when his temper was aroused. 

Ordinarily he was gentlemanly and ambitious to improve 
his mind. At various times he followed the occupation of 
nurseryman, drummer, bicycle-agent, confectioner, orchardist, 
and at the time of the murders he was studying law. 

On May 26, 1896, he was stopping at the home of his 
father-in-law. Col. McGlincy, which was in the country, a 
short distance from San Jose, Cal. 

On that evening, Col. McGlincy, Jas. Wells, Mrs. Mc- 
Glincy's son by a former husband, and George Schaible, their 
hired man, drove to a nearby village called Campbell, and 
returned about 11:30 p. m. They took the horse and buggy 
to the barn' and after the horse was unhitched McGlincy and 
Wells crossed over to the house, leaving Schaible in the stable. 
Soon after these two men entered the house, Schaible heard 
several pistol shots and immediately after that McGlincy ran 
from the residence over to a chicken house, pursued by Dun- 
ham, who had a pistol in his hand. 

Dunham fired several shots into the building and Mc- 
Glincy, who had been wounded, came out and pleaded for 
mercy. He then fell and as he lay on the ground, Dunham 
shot him to death. Schaible concealed himself in the hay and 
Dunham searched for him, but failing to find him, he saddled 
up a horse and galloped away, pistol in hand. L. C. Ross, a 
neighbor of McGlincy's, heard the first shots and after hur- 
riedly dressing, ran to the McGlincy home. Upon seeing Mc- 
Glincy's body in the yard, he hurried home to procure a shot- 
gun, and while en route he heard a horse galloping up the road. 

After arming himself, he aroused another neighbor 

288 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

named Page, and they proceeded to the McGlincy home. 
There, at the midnight hour, they were confronted by a hor- 
rible spectacle. In addition to the body of McGlincy in the 
yard, they entered the house and found Wells shot to death, 
Mrs. McGlincy and her daughter, the murderer's wife, were 
stabbed to death and two employes named Minnie Schessler 
and Robert Briscol were hacked with a hatchet until their 
bodies could hardly be recognized. 

The only human being within reach of this butcher, who 
was not slaughtered, was his own little baby, scarcely a month 

The appearance of the house indicated that a terrible 
struggle for life was made by some of the victims. Blood was 
spattered over the walls, and furniture and bric-a-brac was 
knocked down and broken. 

While riding away from the scene of his bloody deeds, 
Dunham passed Chas. Sterritt on the San Jose road. The 
murderer, who still had his revolver in his hand, asked Sterritt 
where he was going and who he was looking for. The next 
time he was seen was on the following evening at 6:30 p. m., 
when he conversed with Manager Snell of the Smith's Creek 
Hotel. Dunham was bloodstained and his horse was hardly 
able to stand from exhaustion. He then rode off toward the 
mountains and no further trace was found of him until May 29, 
when his horse was found abandoned in Indian Gulch, five 
miles from Mount Hamilton. 

The reward offered for the capture of Dunham amounted 
to $2200.00. 

People from all parts of the United States were constantly 
"locating" the fugitive and the authorities were put to con- 
siderable expense in investigating these false clews. 

But the most remarkable case of mistaken identity occurred 
on September 5, 1908, when a woman residing in Sherman, 
Texas, reported to the authorities of that place that she was 
well acquainted with Dunham and positively identified a man 
living in that community under the name of William Hatfield 
as the much-sought murderer. He was arrested and as he 
gave a most unsatisfactory account of his movements, both 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 289 

previous and subsequent to the date of the murder, Sheriff 
Lang-ford of Santa Clara County went to Texas, and after a 
legal battle, during which considerable jealousy was exhibited, 
because of the amount of the reward money involved, the 
suspect was finally extradited. 

On October 23, Hatfield arrived in San Jose, where it 
was proven beyond all doubt that he was not the man wanted, 
but it was necessary to charge him, and immediately afterward 
he was legally exonerated. 

It is estimated that while he was incarcerated in San Jose, 
over twenty thousand people visited him. 

It was never definitely learned what motive prompted 
Dunham to commit this foul deed. 

There was nothing to indicate that it was premeditated and 
the general belief is that he had some real or imaginary 
grievance and that the ungovernable temper which he is said to 
have inherited changed him for the moment into a fiend. 

It seems impossible that Dunham could have escaped or 
even lived for many days after his horse fell from exhaustion. 

His deeds, name and description were on every tongue 
throughout that part of the country, and every man who 
answered his description in any respect was detained pending 
investigation unless his identity was proven beyond all doubt. 
He had no means to disguise himself and although he had no 
provisions, he never applied to a living soul for food or 
shelter, and no human being could have made any progress 
over that mountainous country without proper nourishment. 

Every avenue of escape was guarded, either by officers or 
those who were anxious to assist in his apprehension, either in 
the interest of justice, or to procure the large reward. 

The naturally melancholy Dunham, alone and exhausted 
in the wild mountains, without a friend, hunted like a ferocious 
animal, and seeing no avenue of escape, and once captured, no 
escape from the gallows, probably realized the enormity of his 
crimes, for he was possessed of more than ordinary intelligence, 
and then decided to seek some isolated spot where he probably 
ended his miserable existence. 


290 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On September 1, 1879, the Eureka stage, carrying Banker 
William Cummings of Moore's Flat, and about ten other pas- 
sengers, was held up by two masked men near Nevada City. 

All the passengers were ordered to leave the stage and 
hold up their hands. While one robber kept the passengers 
covered with a gun, the other searched them and the stage. 
A valise belonging to Cummings was pulled from -under the 
seat and as it contained a gold bar valued at $6,700 the banker 
sprang at the robber and both men fell to the ground. Cum- 
mings was getting the better of the struggle when the robber 
called to his companion for help. The second robber responded 
by shooting Cummings in the neck, killing him almost instantly. 

The robbers then took the valise and the loot they had 
obtained from the other passengers and disappeared. 

Nothing further was learned in regard to the identity of 
the robbers until September, 1882, when Captain of Detectives 
Lees of San Francisco ascertained that John Patterson, alias 
John Collins, who was at the time awaiting trial in St. Louis 
for a burglary he had recently committed in that city, was 
probably one of the Moore's Flat robbers. Lees and Detective 
AuU of Wells, Fargo & Co. soon convinced themselves that 
Patterson participated in the crime, and they proceeded to St. 
Louis with the necessary requisition papers. 

Patterson was brought to California and was tried and 
convicted. He was hanged at Nevada City on February 1, 

Shortly after Patterson was captured. Lees learned that 
Charles Dorsey, alias Thorne, alias Moore, a prosperous wood 
merchant in Union City, Indiana, was the robber who killed 
Cummings, and had obtained his start in business through 
his share of the proceeds from the gold bar, which the robbers 
sold at the mint in New Orleans. 

"Moore" was so highly respected in Union City that Lees 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 291 

was .threatened with mob violence when he went to the town 
and declared his intention to take him to California to be tried 
for murder. 

Dorsey, alias Thome, alias Moore, was tried, convicted 
and sentenced to life imprisonment at San Quentin. 

There were several old soldiers on the jury, and it is 
claimed that Dorsey's attorney's reference to his client's brilliant 
war record saved his neck. 

Dorsey escaped from San Quentin on December 1, 1887, 
but was recaptured in Chicago on October 26, 1890. 



On August 5, 1901, the Selby Smelting Works, located at 
the edge of the bay, at Vallejo Junction, Cal., was burglarized 
and $283,005 in gold bullion stolen. 

The burglary was committed by digging a tunnel under 
the building and up to the vault, which was drilled. 

Ex-Chief of Police Lees, Captain of Detectives John Sey- 
mour, Detective Tom Gibson and Captain Sayers of Pinkerton's 
Agency began an investigation. 

Suspicion fell on a former employee named John Winters, 
who had a cabin about one-quarter mile from the works, 
and who was said to have been engaged to be married to 
Miss Ida Spencer of San Rafael, Cal. 

Detective Gibson inspected Winters' cabin, and there 
shovels, clothing and various articles were found, on which 
was mud similar to that found in the tunnel, where his cap 
was found. 

He was traced to San Rafael on August 7, 1901, by 
Gibson and arrested at the hotel where Miss Spencer re- 
sided. It was then learned that he had that day offered to 
purchase for her property worth $5000. 

Winters was brought back to San Francisco, and after an 
extended cross-examination, during which the evidence against 

292 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

him was produced, he broke down, made a confession and 
volunteered to accompany the officers in a boat and indicate the 
place in the bay where he had thrown the bullion, which he 
had calculated on recovering in the future for his personal use. 

The tug "Sea Witch" was engaged, and ex-Chief Lees, 
Captain Sayers, Detectives Tom Gibson, Charlie Crockett and 
Winters arrived at the place indicated at 4 :30 a. m., August 9. 
This hour was selected because of the low tide. 

Gibson and Crockett stripped and eventually recovered 
every bar that was stolen. 

Winters was tried at Martinez, Cal., pleaded guilty and on 
August 21, 1901, was sentenced to serve fifteen years' im- 
prisonment. He was paroled on November 24, 1908. 


On September 30, 1894, Constable William Jeffery of 
Puyallup, Wash., visited some relatives a short distance 
from town, and about 5 p. m. he, in company with Thomas 
Alexander and Tom Bowley, was returning home on foot. 

When they reached a little railway station called Meeker 
Junction the constable observed a young man and sixteen- 
year-old boy run from some box cars into an unoccupied 
structure near by. When the pair neared the building one 
of them dropped a bundle, which Jeffery hastened to inspect. 
Among other articles he found a 45-calibre Colt's revolver, 
which he was examining when the two fellows reappeared, 
and the older of the two exclaimed, "Drop that!" "Is it 
yours?" asked Jeffrey. "Yes," replied the stranger. The 
constable then inquired if there were any marks of identifica- 
tion on the weapon, to which the man replied, "Yes, D. P." 
While Jeffery was looking for the alleged mark, the fellow 
suddenly drew another revolver and simultaneously with his 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 293 

command, "Hands up!" he fired at the officer, the bullet 
passing through his heart and killing him almost instantly. 

The pair then escaped and a few moments later they 
held up a farmer driving along a road and seized his horse 
and wagon. 

As Jeffery was a most efficient and popular officer, the 
mdignant citizens formed large posses to assist Sheriff Mat- 
thews to apprehend the murderer. 

At 2 o'clock on the following morning Deputy Sheriff 
Harry Moore and John Ball met a suspicious-acting char- 
acter on the road near McMillan. It was too dark to dis- 
tinguish his features, but the officer commanded him to halt, 
whereupon the stranger fired at Moore, the bullet inflicting 
a serious wound in his breast. This man, whom it was subse- 
quently learned was Blanck, then disappeared in the darkness. 

On the next day at noon Frank Murray, a sixteen-year- 
old boy, having respectable relatives residing at Hillsboro, 
entered a store in South Prairie, Wash., and purchased a 
large amount of provisions. As he acted suspiciously and 
answered the description of the youth who accompanied the 
man who murdered Jeffery, he was arrested and he freely 
admitted that he was with "Hamilton" when that individual 
killed the constable, but that they had since parted company. 

On October 3, 1894, a robber attempted to hold up the 
"Mug" Saloon in Seattle, but as the bartender, Charles Brid- 
well, offered resistance the bandit shot him dead and then 

A few days later Detective Cudihee of Seattle arrested 
a suspect after a desperate battle, during which a bullet from 
the desperado's pistol grazed the detective's neck. The 
prisoner gave the name of Tom Blanck and subsequently 
made a confession substantially as follows: 

"I was born in New York and my first crime was at 
Nelson, B. C, in January, 1891, when my partner and I held 
up a stage and killed the driver because he resisted. After 
obtaining $4500 from the treasure-box we escaped. 

"In February, 1891, I committed a burglary at Kalama, 

294 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Wash., for which I was arrested, but I escaped from jail 
shortly afterward. 

"I then went to Fairhaven, where I committed a burglary 
but as I was pursued by Policeman Peter Brugh I shot him 
twice and then escaped. 

"On August 18, 1894, I robbed several people in the bar- 
room of the Broadwater Hotel at Helena, Montana, and in 
the following September I killed Steve Gross, a bartender, at 
Meaderville, Montana, and subsequently killed a deputy 
sheriff who pursued me. 

"My next victim was Constable Jeffery, and it was I 
who shot Deputy Sheriff Moore the next morning. I also 
killed Bridwell, the bartender, in Seattle." 

Blanck was tried and convicted for the murder of Brid 
well, and was sentenced to be hanged. At this time he wa 
confined in the county jail at Seattle. 

At 7:30 p. m. March 17, 1895, Jailer Jerry Yerbury was 
passing Blanck's cell when the desperado pointed something 
at him which resembled a black pistol, at the same time com- 
manding the jailer to come close to his cell or be killed in- 

After some pleading Yerbury finally complied with the 
request and the bandit then ordered him to open the cell 
door, which he did. 

With the assistance of Frank Hart, a bunco man, Blanck 
bound Yerbury with a rope, took his pistol and then invite^' 
all prisoners who desired their freedom to accompany him. 

The following accepted his invitation: Servius Rutten, 
convicted of murder; William Holmes, a negro, who mur- 
dered his comrade; C. W. Brown, a counterfeiter; R. H. 
Ford, and Charles Williams, burglars ; Frank Clinafelter, 
horse thief, and William Cosgrove, convicted of petty larceny. 

Murderer James Murphy not only refused to accept the 
invitation but notified the officials of what had transpired. 

After the excitement had subsided the weapon which 
struck terror to the heart of Yerbury was found and proved 
to be an excellent imitation of a revolver made of wood and 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 295 

On the following day Cosgrove, the petty larceny thief, 
was recaptured near O'Brien Station. 

On that night Deputy Sheriffs M. Kelly and Dick Burk- 
man saw two men on a road near Black River Junction. It 
was too dark to distinguish their features, but when the 
fellows drew near the officers sprang out and ordered them 
to throw up their hands. The taller of the two, who proved 
to be Rutten, the convicted murderer, obeyed the command, 
but his companion, whom Rutten afterward admitted was 
Blanck, darted into the brush and escaped. 

On March 21, 1895, a man of Blanck's description ob- 
tained food at the home of James Nelson, which was located 
near Orillia, Wash. Deputy Sheriffs Robert Crow and John 
Shepich were notified and they started in pursuit. Near 
Kent, a small town near Seattle, they saw a man of Blanck's 
description. As they drew near they pointed rifles at him and 
commanded him to throw up his hands. After some hesita- 
tion he suddenly drew a revolver and during the general fire 
which followed Shepich was shot in the breast and seriously 
wounded. When Blanck had emptied his revolver he darted 
into the near-by brush, but when commanded to come out he 
did so. By this time Charles Newell had joined the officers 
and when the bandit reappeared all three men opened fire, 
with the result that seven shots entered Blanck's body, killing 
him instantly. 

The officers subsequently testified before the coroner that 
their reason for firing at Blanck when he obeyed their com- 
mand and came out of the brush was because they thought 
he had two revolvers, but the only one found was the one 
which he stole from Jailer Yerbury. 

Holmes, the negro murderer, was recaptured by Sheriff 
Hagan on the day Blanck was killed. 

296 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


In 1892, there lived in the town of Vancouver, Washing- 
ton, two fifteen-year-old boys, named Harry Tracy and David 
Merrill. Tracy's conduct was exemplary until he met Merrill, 
but immediately afterward a change occurred and step by step 
he waded into crime until his deeds were the talk of the conti- 
nent. At the outset, Merrill seemed to possess the master mind 
of the pair, but as Tracy was an apt pupil, this soon changed, 
and he became the dictator. 

Their first depredation consisted of the stealing of three 
geese from a farmer living on the outskirts of Vancouver and 
selling them to a poultry market. For this crime they were 
sentenced by Justice of the Peace M. A. Tuson to serve twenty 
days in jail. 

After being liberated they purchased firearms and prac- 
ticed almost daily at the Vancouver barracks until they gained 
reputations as expert shots. Articles were constantly disap- 
pearing from the barracks in a mysterious manner, and the 
army officers, becoming satisfied that these two boys were the 
thieves, ordered them to keep away from the quarters. 

After committing numerous petty offenses, Tracy was 
arrested for house-breaking in Provo, Utah, and on July 10, 
1897, was sent to State prison for one year. 

On October 8 of the same year, he and three other prison- 
ers were working on a drain ditch outside of the prison walls, 
where Tracy secured a pistol which a friend had planted there 
for him. With this weapon he held up the guard and made 
his escape. 

He then joined the notorious "Robbers Roost" gang, 
which was operating in Colorado, and of which Dave Lent, 
Pat Johnson, Dave Merrill and John Bennett were members. 

When this band killed a boy named Wm. Strang, the in- 
dignant citizens demanded of the authorities that they be 
immediately exterminated. 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 297 

A posse was organized and on March 1, 1898, they en- 
countered the outlaws near Craig, Colorado. 

A desperate battle was fought, during which several on 
each side were wounded and Deputy Sheriff Valentine S. Hay 
was killed. 

The desperadoes made their escape, but on March 4, 
Sheriff C. W. Neiman and posse of Routt County, Colorado, 
captured Lent, Tracy, Johnson and Bennett. 

As the. Strang boy was murdered just over the line in 
Wyoming, Johnson, who was accused of the actual killing, 
was extradited, but was subsequently acquitted because of in- 
sufficiency of evidence. 

A mob seized Bennett and lynched him. 

Tracy and Lent escaped from jail, but were recaptured 
the. next day. They were then transferred to the more secure 
jail in Aspen, Colorado, and again escaped. 

Lent was never seen again by the authorities. 

Tracy joined Merrill, and in December, 1898, they re- 
turned to Portland, Oregon, where they soon had the citizens 
terrorized by the series of depredations they committed. 

They held up and robbed a street-car, and also burglarized 
several saloons and stores. 

On February 6, 1899, Merrill was arrested, and on the 
next day Detective Dan Weiner arrested Tracy after a 
desperate battle. 

The pair were found guilty of robbery and on March 
22, 1899, Tracy was committed to the Salem prison for 
twenty years and Merrill for fifteen years. 

They were employed in the foundry in the prison, 
and at 7 a. m., June 9, 1902, they were marched in line 
with the other prisoners to their work. It was the duty of 
Guard Frank Giard to count the prisoners marched in, and 
after doing so, Giard announced to Guard Frank Ferrell that 
159 prisoners were present. 

Ferrell replied "All right." Just then Giard heard a rifle 
shot and turned in time to see Ferrell fall dead. Tracy then 
turned his rifle on Giard and shot without hitting him, and 
Merrill fired at the other shop guard. Ingham, a life prisoner, 

298 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

attempted to disarm Tracy but was immediately shot and 
mortally wounded by Merrill. 

They then fled from the building and directed their atten- 
tion to the fence guards, where S. R. Jones was guarding one 
corner of the stockade. They both fired at Jones, one bullet 
striking him in the abdomen and one in the chest, and he fell 
dead at his post. Guard B. F. Tiffany then emptied his rifle 
at the desperadoes, but none of his bullets struck their mark. 
Tracy fired one shot at him and he fell outside the wall with 
a wound in his chest. 

Tracy and Merrill then procured a ladder, scaled the wall 
and running to Tiffany, assisted him to his feet and used him 
as a shield until they got out of range of the other guards. 
They got in a position where they could be observed from 
the prison and deliberately blew the top of Tiffany's head off 
and then disappeared in the timbers. 

Posses of peace officers and citizens were at once organized 
and rewards were offered for the bodies of the convicts. It 
is said that Tracy and Merrill obtained their sawed-off rifles in 
the following manner : 

On May 20, 1892, Harry Wright was released from the 
Salem prison and carried with him a letter from Merrill to a 
relative. It was apparently only a short note, not covering 
more than one-half of the paper, but underneath it was a note 
written in invisible chemical ink, in which he requested the 
relative to provide the bearer with money for reasons which 
would be explained later. 

Wright also stole a horse and buggy in Portland, which 
he sold to assist in raising funds. He purchased two high- 
grade rifles with short barrels and a quantity of ammunition, 
which were smuggled into the prison the night before the 

On the day following their escape, Tracy and Merrill 
entered Salem, Oregon, at 10 p. m., and held up a man at the 
point of a rifle and took his clothes. They then stole an over- 
coat and two horses and continued on their way north. Theii 
next appearance was in the town of Gervais, twenty mile: 
north of Salem, where they demanded and procured food ana 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 299 

held up two deputy sheriffs and took such wearing apparel 
from them as they needed. Learning that a posse was en 
route to Gervais with bloodhounds, they returned toward 
Salem, remaining in the woods in the daytime and at night 
they entered the town, and accosted a citizen named J. W. 
Roberts as he was entering his home. They took his clothes 
(the object being to change as often as possible), and then 
ordered him to go in his house and remain there until daylight 
under pain of death. 

Early on June 13, they broke through a cordon of militia 
md deputy sheriffs near Gervais and a few hours afterward 
stopped at a farm near Monitor, which was owned by a man 
named H. Aikus. They ordered the women folks to prepare 
a breakfast, and supplied themselves liberally with eatables 
and cooking utensils. 

On June 15, the bandits stole a team from G. R. Randall, 
near Oregon City, and on June 16 they appeared at the farm 
of Chas. Holtgrieve on the Columbia River and demanded 
dinner. There were five men in the house at the time and 
the convicts made them all enter a boat and row them across 
the Columbia River. On June 17, about 6 a. m., they appeared 
at the cabin of a rancher named Reedy, about four miles back 
of Vancouver, They bound and gagged him, took his clothes 
and left him lying on the ground. 

From June 17 to July 2 little was heard of the bandits, 
but on the last named date Tracy appeared at the Capitol City 
Oyster Co.'s place at South Bay, near Seattle. He entered the 
home of Horatio Ailing, while another man named Lattrige 
was present. 

Tracy made known his identiy, and ordered them to pre- 
pare a meal. In the meantime, a Frank Scott and John Les- 
5inger came in. Tracy then ordered all four men to stand 
facing the wall with their hands up while he prepared his own 
breakfast. At this time Captain Clark of the gasoline launch 
"N. and S." and his son entered the house, and they also 
joined the "wall flowers." While eating his breakfast, Tracy 
learned of Clark's launch, and after satisfying his appetite 
ordered all present to accompany him to the launch. On the 

300 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

way he stated that he had killed his partner in crime, Merrill, 
because he showed evidence of a faint heart. He said that they 
had agreed to fight a duel and that it was arranged that they 
should place back to back and at a signal each should step 
out ten paces and turn and fire. 

At the eighth step, Tracy turned and killed Merrill by 
shooting him in the back. He claimed that this occurred about 
four miles south of Chehalis, Washington, on June 28. An 
investigation proved his statement to be true as the body of 
Merrill was found thrown head first over a log. 

When Tracy and his involuntary companions reached the 
launch, he ordered them all into the boat and instructed Clark 
to proceed with the party to Meadows Point, near Seattle. At 
' this place they disembarked, and Tracy ordered one of the 
party to take a rope from the launch and bind the rest of 
the party. This done, he compelled this man to accompany him 
to a place called Ballard, six miles from Seattle, and then 
ordered him to leave him and to proceed along an isolated 
path and say nothing of what had transpired. 

July 3 proved to be the red-letter day in the career of this 
arch-criminal. His marvelous luck and cunning remained 
with him, and, as usual, he escaped unharmed. 

At 3 :30 p. m. he encountered a posse at a place called 
Bothell, near Seattle, and by quick maneuvering he gained an 
advantageous position and opened fire on the posse before 
they were aware of his presence. 

He only fired five shots. With the first he instantly killed 
Deputy SheriflF Chas. Raymond. Another ball splintered the 
stock of Deputy Sheriff Jack Williams' rifle, and the ball en- 
tered his breast. He then wounded others in the party and 

Later in the day Tracy met an aged farmer who was driv- 
ing a team along the outskirts of Seattle. He seized the team, 
made a prisoner of the old man, and then drove up to the resi- 
dence of Mrs. R. H. Vanhorn, located near Woodland Park, 
Seattle. He fastened the team and forced his aged prisoner 
to accompany him into the lady's home and ordered her to 
cook a meal for him. Tracy did not watch this lady very 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 301 

closely and therefore did not observe that a butcher boy called 
at her door for orders. Mrs, Vanhorn whispered to the boy 
that Tracy was there and the boy rushed back to Freemont, a 
suburb of Seattle, and notified Sheriff Cudihee and Policeman 
Breese of the fact. These men, accompanied by C. J. Knight 
and Neil Rawley, armed themselves and, proceeding to Mrs. 
Vanhorn's house, they secreted themselves within view of the 
entrance. Presently Tracy stepped out with the old man on 
one side and another man on the other. 

The officers could not shoot without endangering the lives 
of innocent persons, so Breese called out: "Tracy, drop that 
gun." Quick as a flash the bandit fired and killed Breese in- 
stantly. With the next shot he mortally wounded Rawley. 
He continued to use his involuntary companions as shields un- 
til he reached a place of safety, when he dismissed them and 

On July 5, he entered the home of a Fisher family, near 
Pontiac, and acting under his orders, they prepared his break- 
fast. While he was eating he stationed the family by the door. 
It is needless to state that he now had the entire country ter- 
rorized and a great many amusing stories are told of posses 
of citizens which boldly started to find him, but on learning of 
his whereabouts, stampeded in the opposite direction. 

On Saturday, July 6, Tracy appeared at Meadow Point, 
on the water front, three miles north of Seattle. Here he 
met a Japanese fisher boy whom he forced to row him twelve 
miles to Madison Point, where the boy was dismissed. 

The bandit then proceeded to the home of Farmer John 
Johnson. By employing the usual tactics of announcing his 
name and displaying his weapons, Tracy terrorized the family 
and then requested Mrs. Johnson to prepare his breakfast. 
There was a large, powerful man named John Anderson em- 
ployed at this farm, and after breakfast Tracy procured ropes 
and bound the Johnson family and then ordered Anderson to 
accompany him. From that time until the following Tuesday, 
Anderson was a mere slave and beast of burden for the bandit. 

Tracy forced his companion to row him down the sound, 
and on the next day the boat they used was found in a clump 

302 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

of bushes in Miller's Bay. When they reached land, Tracy 
compelled Anderson to carry the blankets and provisions, and 
while Tracy slept, or ate, Anderson was bound to a tree. 

On Monday, after a long tramp, they entered the woods 
from which the notorious desperado, Tom Blanck, emerged, 
only to be killed. 

At the Black River bridge, Tracy met four friends, evi- 
dently by appointment. 

On Monday night Anderson was again bound to a tree, 
and on Tuesday the pair proceeded to Gerrell's home, two miles 
from Renton, Wash. Tracy went into the kitchen, and after 
ordering a meal, began joking with the women folks. Ger- 
rell's home was near the railroad track and presently a train 
came along bearing one of the numerous posses which were 
scouring the country for the outlaw. As the train stopped, 
Tracy took Anderson into the woods and bound him to a tree. 
The bandit then escaped, and shortly afterward Anderson was 
found and released. 

On July 10, Tracy called at the ranch of M. E. Johnson, 
near Kent, fifteen miles from Seattle, and ordered him to go 
to Tacoma and buy him a 45-calibre revolver and 100 cart- 
ridges. He told Johnson that if he betrayed him, he would 
slaughter his entire family, which remained with Tracy at the 
farmhouse during his absence. Needless to say, Johnson kept 
faith and at night Tracy appropriated one of Johnson's horses 
and an ample supply of food and departed. 

On the night of July 11 Tracy was surrounded near Cov- 
ington. Just before daylight he approached the lines in such 
a careless manner that the guards thought he was one of their 
party. During the night he had evidently crept up and over- 
heard the name of one of the guards, and on being challenged 
gave that name, and had succeeded in passing through the lines 
before the mistake was discovered. Eight charges of buck- 
shot were sent after him and Tracy fired one shot in return, 
but no one was injured. 

On Sunday, August 4, an eighteen-year-old boy named 
G. E. Goldfinch was riding a horse near the Eddy ranch, about 
eleven miles from Creston, Wash., when he observed a man 

Celebrated Cases on Pacific Coast 303 

who was evidently camping in the woods. The stranger 
stopped him and after stating that he was Tracy, directed the 
youth to conduct him to the nearest ranch. Goldfinch escorted 
him to the Eddy ranch, where Tracy commanded that no per- 
son would be permitted to leave the ranch night or day with- 
out his permission. So terrorized were the persons addressed 
that they made no effort to disobey his order. 

On Monday, Goldfinch was permitted to go, but was 
warned to say nothing of what had transpired. The boy paid 
but slight attention to the admonition and as a result a posse 
was organized in Creston, which consisted of Deputy Sheriff 
C. H. Straub, Dr. E. A. Lanter, Attorney Maurice Smith and 
Joseph Morrison, a track foreman. 

On August 6, 1902, they proceeded to the Eddy ranch, 
where they saw a man come out of a shed whom they sus- 
pected was Tracy, but not being positive they refrained from 
firing. Mr. Eddy was seen working in the field, so one of 
the posse approached him without being observed by the sus- 
pect. Eddy informed him that the man was Tracy. Eddy 
then arranged to drive his team to the barn. 

During his stay on this ranch, Tracy volunteered to do 
his share of the work, so when Eddy appeared at the barn, 
Tracy came out to assist in unhitching the horses. While he 
was thus occupied, the posse appeared in full view. They 
commanded the outlaw to surrender, but instead of obeying 
the command, Tracy used Eddy and one of the horses as a 
shield until he reached the barn, where his rifle was hid. 

He then slipped out of a side door and dashed into a 
wheat field. At every motion of the wheat the posse fired a 
volley in that direction. Finally Tracy fired one shot and 
then all was silent. 

Shortly after this, Sheriff Gardner of Lincoln County ap- 
peared on the scene with his son. After a conference it was 
decided not to venture into the field that night, so it was sur- 
rounded until the following morning. They then made their 
way through the grain and found that Tracy had committed 
suicide by blowing off the whole side of his head with his 
huge revolver. 

304 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

An inspection of the body showed that one of his legs 
had been shattered by two rifle balls fired by the posse. He 
attempted to stop the flow of blood with a bandage, but as 
further flight was impossible, he realized the hopelessness of 
further combat with the determined posse, and therefore made 
good his boast that he would never be taken alive. 

His body was taken back to Salem Prison, for the double 
purpose of having it officially identified and to demonstrate 
to the convicts, who looked up to Tracy as a hero, the folly 
of attempting to follow in his footsteps. 

The reward for Tracy, dead or alive, was $4,100.00. 
















In the fall of 1873 a party of twenty daring men left 
Salt Lake City, Utah, to prospect in the San Juan country. 
Having heard glowing accounts of the fortunes to be made, 
they were light-hearted and full of hope as they started on 
their journey, but as the weeks rolled by and they beheld 
nothing but barren wastes and snowy mountains, they grew 
despondent. The further they proceeded, the less inviting ap- 
peared the country, and they finally became desperate when 
it appeared that their only reward would be starvation and 

Just as the prospectors were about to give up in despair, 
they saw an Indian camp in the distance, and while they had 
no assurance as to what treatment they would receive at the 
hands of the "Reds," they decided that any death was prefer- 
able to starvation, so they agreed to take a chance. 

When they approached the camp they were met by an 
Indian who appeared to be friendly and escorted them to 
Chief Ouray. To their great surprise, the Indians treated 
them with every consideration and insisted upon their remain- 
ing in the camp until they had fully recuperated from their 

Finally the party decided to make another start, with the 
Los Pinos Agency . as their goal. Ouray attempted to dis- 
suade them from continuing the journey, and did succeed in 
influencing ten of the party to abandon the trip and return 
to Salt Lake. The other ten determined to continue, so Ouray 
supplied them with provisions and admonished them to follow 
the Gunnison River, which was named after Lieutenant Gun- 
nison, who was murdered in 1852. (See life of Joe Smith, 
the Mormon.) 

Alfred G. Packer, who appeared as the leader of the 
party which continued the journey, boasted of his knowledge 

3o8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

of the topography of the country and expressed confidence in 
his ability to find his way without diflSculty. When his party 
had traveled a short distance, Packer told them that rich 
mines had been recently discovered near the headwaters of 
the Rio Grande River, and he offered to guide the party to 
the mines. 

Four of the party insisted that they follow Ouray's in- 
structions, but Packer persuaded five men, named Swan, Mil- 
ler, Noon, Bell and Humphrey, to accompany him to the 
mines, while the other four proceeded along the river. 

Of the party of four, two died from starvation and ex- 
posure, but the other two finally reached the Los Pinos Agency 
in February, 1874, after enduring indescribable hardships. 
General Adams was in command of this agency, and the un- 
fortunate men were treated with every consideration. When 
they regained their strength they started back to civilization. 

In March, 1874, General Adams was called to Denver on 
business, and one cold, blizzardy morning, while he was still 
away, the employees of the agency, who were seated at the 
breakfast table, were startled by the appearance at the door 
of a wild-looking man who begged piteously for food and 
shelter. His face was frightfully bloated but otherwise he 
appeared to be in fairly good condition, although his stomach 
would not retain the food given him. He stated that his name 
was Packer and claimed that his five companions had deserted 
him while he was ill, but had left a rifle with him which he 
brought into the Agency. 

After partaking of the hospitality of the employees at 
the Agency for ten days. Packer proceeded to a place called 
Saquache, claiming that he intended to work his way to Penn- 
sylvania, where he had a brother. At Saquache, Packer drank 
heavily and appeared to be well supplied with money. While 
intoxicated, he told many conflicting stories regarding the fate 
of his companions, and it was suspected that he had disposed 
of his erstwhile associates by foul means. 

At this time General Adams stopped at Saquache on his 
return from Denver to the Agency, and while at the home 
of Otto Mears he was advised to arrest Packer and investigate 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 309 

his movements. The General decided to take him back to 
the Agency, and while en route they stopped at the cabin of 
Major Downey, where they met the ten men who listened 
to the Indian chief and abandoned the trip. It was then proven 
that a great part of Packer's statement was false, so the Gen- 
eral decided that the matter required a complete investigation, 
and Packer was bound and taken to the Agency, where he 
was held in close confinement. 

On April 2, 1874, two wildly excited Indians ran into 
the Agency, holding strips of flesh in their hands which they 
called "white man's meat," and which they stated they found 
just outside the agency. As it had been lying on the snow 
and the weather had been extremely cold, it was still in good 

When Packer caught sight of the exhibits, his face became 
livid, and with a low moan he sank to the floor. Restoratives 
were administered and after pleading for mercy, he made a 
statement substantially as follows: 

"When I and five others left Ouray's camp, we estimated 
that we had sufficient provisions for the long and arduous 
journey before us, but our food rapidly disappeared and we 
were soon on the verge of starvation. We dug roots from 
the ground upon which we subsisted for some days, but as 
they were not nutritious and as the extreme cold had driven 
all animals and birds to shelter, the situation became desperate. 
Strange looks came into the eyes of each of the party and they 
all became suspicious of each other. One day I went out to 
gather wood for the fire and when I returned I found that 
Mr. Swan, the oldest man in the party, had been struck on 
the head and killed, and the remainder of the party were in 
the act of cutting up the body preparatory to eating it. His 
money, amounting to $2,000.00, was divided among the re- 
mainder of the party. 

"This food only lasted a few days, and I suggested that 
Miller be the next victim because of the large amount of flesh 
he carried. His skull was split open with a hatchet as he was 
in the act of picking up a piece of wood, Humphreys and 
Noon were the next victims. Bell and I then entered into a 

3IO Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

solemn compact that as we were the only ones left we would 
stand by each other whatever befell, and rather than harm 
each other we would die of starvation. One day Bell said, 
*I can stand it no longer,' and he rushed at me like a famished 
tiger, at the same time attempting to strike me with his gun. 
I parried the blow and killed him with a hatchet. I then cut 
his flesh into strips which I carried with me as I pursued my 
journey. When I espied the Agency from the top of the hill, 
I threw away the strips I had left, and I confess I did so 
reluctantly as I had grown fond of human flesh, especially 
that portion around the breast." 

After relating his grewsome story, Packer agreed to guide 
a party in charge of H. Lauter to the remains of the mur- 
dered men. He led them to some high, inaccessible moun- 
tains, and as he claimed to be bewildered, it was decided to 
abandon the search and start back the next day. 

That night Packer and Lauter slept side by side, and 
during the night Packer assaulted him with the intent to 
commit murder and escape, but he was overpowered, bound, 
and after the party reached the Agency, he was turned over 
to the Sheriff. 

Early in June of that year, an artist named Reynolds, from 
Peoria, 111., while sketching along the shores of Lake Chris- 
toval, discovered the remains of the five men lying in a grove 
of hemlocks. Four of the bodies were lying together in a 
row, and the fifth, minus the head, was found a short distance 
away. The bodies of Bell, Swan, Humphreys and Noon had 
rifle bullet wounds in the back of the head, and when Miller's 
head was found it was crushed in, evidently by a blow from 
a rifle which was lying near by, the stock being broken from 
the barrel. 

The appearance of the bodies clearly indicated that Packet 
had been guilty of cannibalism as well as murder. He proba- 
bly spoke the truth when he stated his preference for the breast 
of man, as in each instance the entire breast was cut away to 
the ribs. 

A beaten path was found leading from the bodies to a 
near-by cabin, where blankets and other articles belonging to 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 311 

the murdered men were discovered, and everything indicated 
that Packer lived in this cabin for many days after the mur- 
ders, and that he made frequent trips to the bodies for his 
supply of human meat. 

After these discoveries the Sheriff procured warrants 
charging Packer with five murders, but during his absence 
the prisoner escaped. 

Nothing was heard of him again until January 29, 1883, 
nine years later, when General Adams received a letter from 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, in which a Salt Lake prospector stated 
positively that he had met Packer face to face in that locality. 
The informant stated that the fugitive was known as John 
Schwartze, and was suspected of being engaged in operations 
with a gang of outlaws. 

Detectives began an investigation, and on March 12, 1883, 
Sheriff Sharpless of Laramie County arrested Packer, and on 
the 17th inst. Sheriff Smith of Hinsdale County brought the 
prisoner back to Lake City, Col. 

His trial on the charge of murdering Israel Swan in 
Hinsdale County on March 1, 1874, was begun on April 3, 1883. 
It was proven that each member of the party except Packer 
possessed considerable money. The defendant repeated his 
former statement, wherein he claimed that he had only killed 
Bell, and had done so in self-defense. 

On April 13, the jury found the defendant guilty with 
the death penalty attached. A stay of execution was granted 
to Packer, who immediately appealed to the Supreme Court. 
In the meantime he was transferred to the Gunnison jail to 
save him from mob violence. 

In October, 1885, the Supreme Court granted a new trial 
and it was then decided to bring him to trial on five charges 
of manslaughter. He was found guilty on each charge and 
was sentenced to serve eight years for each offense, making 
a total of forty years. 

He was pardoned on January 1, 1901, and died on a 
ranch near Denver on April 24, 1907. 

312 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


After the extermination of the James-Younger gang, the 
Dalton brothers stepped in and occupied the place once filled 
by them in the ranks of bloodthirsty criminals. In the Dalton 
family were six boys, named Ben, Frank, Grattan, William, 
Robert and Emmet. 

In April, 1889, the Territory of Oklahoma was thrown 
open. For weeks previous to that time, thousands of people 
were camped along the frontier so as to be located in the most 
advantageous position to rush in at the appointed time and 
stake claims on the most valuable land, which they afterwards 
purchased from the Government for less than two dollars 
per acre. 

For many months after the rush, lawlessness reigned 
supreme in this Territory. Bob Dalton was performing the 
duties of a Deputy United States Marshal at this time, but he 
began to associate with the outlaws and finally became a leader 
among them. Emmet and Grattan joined the gang, but in 
1890 the Territory became "too warm" for the Daltons, so 
they went to California, where their brother Bill had rented 
a ranch in Tulare County. 

At 7:50 p. m., January 6, 1891, train No. 17 left Alila, 
Cal., for Bakersfield, but had scarcely gone one mile on its 
journey when Engineer Thorn and Fireman RadliflF were con- 
fronted by two masked men who stood on the tender of the 
engine. The engineer was ordered to stop the train and the 
frowning muzzle of a pistol placed against his temple caused 
an immediate compliance with the command. 

The engineer and fireman were then ordered to accom- 
pany the robbers to the express car. The express messenger, 
suspecting what had happened, put out the lights in his car 
and lay on the floor. He was ordered to open the door, but 
his reply was a shot from his revolver which was followed by 
a fusillade, during which Fireman Radliff was mortally 
wounded. The desperadoes then gave up the struggle and 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 313 

fled. A pursuit was at once begun but all trace of them was 
lost until March 12. On this date Sheriff O'Neil of Paso 
Robles arrested William Dalton on the strength of evidence 
he had gathered, and upon being interrogated Dalton made 
some damaging admissions, which led to the arrest of his 
brother Grattan a few days later. 

Both were taken to Visalia and charged with this crime, 
but William was eventually acquitted. On July 7 Grattan was 
convicted, after having tried to throw the entire blame on 
his brothers, Robert and Emmet, who were still at large. His 
sentence was continued until October 6, but on Sunday night, 
September 26, he in some mysterious manner obtained posses- 
sion of the keys to the prison kitchen and cell door, and in 
company with one William Smith, a convicted burglar, and 
W. R. Beck, a notorious character, escaped. 

Services were being conducted in a church nearby, and 
the team belonging to George McKinley, one of the worship- 
ers, stood awaiting him, but the three desperadoes took pos- 
session of it and made good their escape. 

On December 24, Sheriff Hensly of Fresno met Grattan 
Dalton in the mountains, and after an exchange of several 
shots the bandit again escaped. He then joined Emmet and 
Bob in the Oklahoma reservation. 

Deputy United States Marshal Ransom Payne incurred 
the displeasure of this gang, because he had the "audacity" to 
attempt to capture them. Bob and Emmet Dalton and one 
Charlie Bryant learned that this officer would leave Wichita, 
Okla. Ter., on the evening of May 9, 1891, for his home in 
Guthrie, so they decided to rob this train and kill the officer. 
They went to a little station called Wharton and ordered the 
stationkeeper to signal the train to stop. When the train came 
to a standstill, one bandit took charge of the engineer and 
fireman, and the remaining two went through the train in- 
quiring for Payne. That official being alone and not know- 
ing the number of bandits in the party, and realizing that he 
would probably be killed if the Daltons were in the gang and 
discovered him, decided to evade them and left the train and 
hid in the brush near the track. 

314 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Failing to locate Payne, the two desperadoes proceeded 
to the express car, where they obtained about $1,500. The 
bandits then made their escape on horses, and when the train 
left Payne came out of hiding and ran to the stationhouse, 
where he found the stationkeeper bound and gagged. The 
next day a posse was organized and in August, 1891, Bryant 
was arrested. One of the posse named Edward Short took 
charge of him, while the remainder continued in pursuit of the 
Daltons. Short boarded the train with his prisoner, and when 
the train stopped at a little station he left Bryant, who was 
handcuffed, in charge of Wells-Fargo's agent, to whom he 
loaned a revolver. The agent, believing the prisoner was 
asleep, laid the pistol down and continued with his work. Just 
then Bryant jumped up, seized the weapon and attempted to 
escape. Short saw him leave the car and instantly drew an- 
other revolver. A duel followed with the result that both 
men were killed. 

The Dalton gang remained in seclusion until the night of 
June 2, 1892, when Bob, Grattan and Emmet Dalton, assisted 
by three or four others, held up the Atchison, Topeka and 
Santa Fe train at Red Rock Station, Oklahoma. As the pas- 
senger train stopped at this station only when signaled to do 
so, the stationkeeper was ordered to display the necessary sig- 
nal. When the train stopped the engineer was overpowered 
by two robbers and the remainder of the gang proceeded to 
the express car, where $1,800 was obtained, after which they 
escaped in the darkness. 

In the early part of the following July, the territorial po- 
lice and railroad officials learned that the Dalton gang were 
rendezvoused near the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad 
in Oklahoma, and as they had profited little financially from 
their recent raids it was suspected that one of the trains on 
this road would soon be attacked. It was therefore decided 
to put a heavily armed posse on each train. Thus prepared, 
the authorities rather welcomed an attack, feeling confident 
that it would mean the extermination of the gang. 

On the evening of July 15, 1892, the three Daltons, rein- 
forced by five others, rode up to Adair station in Indian Terri- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 315 

tory and after robbing the agent they ordered him to signal 
the train to stop. Conductor George Scales and Engineer 
Ewing were immediately taken into custody, and the party 
then went to the express car which was in charge of Messenger 
George Williams, who reluctantly opened the safe and several 
thousand dollars were stolen. 

The "guards," who were lounging in the smoker instead 
of being with the messenger, did not appear very anxious to 
perform their duty, although some of them ventured out and 
opened fire in a half-hearted way. A stray bullet struck and 
mortally wounded a Dr. W. Goff, who was at the time in a 
nearby drug store. Two of the guards named Kinney and 
La Flore were also shot, but their wounds were superficial. 
During the fusillade, a wagon was driven up to the train, the 
bags of money were thrown in and the bandits again escaped. 

The next raid attempted by these bandits occurred at 
their old home in Coffeyvile, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. The 
gang on this fatal day consisted of Bob, Grattan and Emmet 
Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers. They rode into 
town about 9:30 a. m., and were recognized by a merchant 
named Alexander McKenna, who quickly but quietly rushed 
about notifying everyone he met. 

The five bandits proceeded to C. M. Condon's bank and 
Grattan Dalton, Powers and Broadwell entered the bank, 
where they found President Charles Carpenter and Cashier 
Charles Ball. 

As soon as the three men entered this bank, Bob and 
Emmet Dalton hastened to the First National Bank across 
the street, as it was planned to rob both institutions simul- 
taneously. In each bank the bandits were informed that the 
time lock would not be off for several minutes and the rob- 
bers decided to wait. 

In the meantime the news of the movements of the gang 
had spread through the town like wildfire, and the gunsmiths 
were loaning weapons and ammunition to all who desired them. 
As a result both banks were soon surrounded by determined 
men, all heavily armed, and the bullets began to fly through 
the windows of the bank. 

3i6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

When the vault was opened at the First National, Cashier 
Thomas Ayers handed out the money, amounting to over 
$20,000. Bob and Emmet Dalton put this in a sack and 
escaped out of the back entrance. They ran in the direction 
of Condon's Bank, but when they observed the crowd of armed 
men in front of that institution, they began firing, with the 
result that a young clerk named Lucius Baldwin was instantly 

In the general battle that followed, two shoemakers named 
George Cubine and Charles Brown, were killed by Bob Dalton 
when he saw them attempting to shoot him. Immediately after 
killing these men. Bob saw Cashier Ayers of the bank with 
his rifle raised, and Dalton shot him in the head, inflicting a 
serious but not fatal wound. 

At this time the three robbers in Condon's Bank rushed 
out into the shower of bullets with about $3,000, and joining 
Bob and Emmet Dalton, they ran to their horses, but did not 
have an opportunity to mount. 

John Kloehr, a stableman, and City Marshal Charles Con- 
nelly, both armed with rifles, then joined in the battle. Grat 
Dalton killed Connelly and almost immediately afterwards 
Kloehr killed Bob Dalton. Bandit Powers was the next to 
be killed and Grattan Dalton was then killed by Kloehr. 

All of the bandits having been killed except Broadwell 
and Emmet Dalton, these two, realizing the great odds against 
them, mounted their horses and attempted to escape. They 
had only gone a short distance, however, when Emmet wheeled 
about and in the face of a heavy fire, returned to the body of 
his brother Bob, and as he was in the act of lifting the body 
with the intention of carrying it away on his horse, a load of 
buckshot was poured into his back and he fell unconscious, 

Broadwell was fatally wounded as he attempted to escape 
and his body was found a short distance from town. Several 
horses were also killed and many citizens wounded. 

Emmet Dalton finally recovered from what were diagnosed 
as necessarily fatal wounds, and he was sentenced to serve 
the remainder of his life at the State Prison at Lansing, but 
Governor Hock pardoned him in January, 1907. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 317 

After the tragic death of his brothers, Bill Dalton reorgan- 
ized the gang and operations were resumed in Oklahoma Ter- 
ritory. Their rendezvous was in the extreme eastern part of 
the Cherokee strip, but considerable of their time was spent 
in a little village called Ingalls. As they purchased their pro- 
visions, ammunition and whisky in this vililage, they were 
shielded by those who profited from their trade. 

On September 1, 1893, Bill Dalton, Bill Doolin, Arkansas 
Tom, George Newton and Tulca Jack were drinking at the 
bar in the village hotel when the place was surrounded by a 
posse consisting of ex-Sheriflf Hixon, Deputy Marshals 
Thomas Houston, Lafe Hadley, Dick Speed and several other 
officials and civilians. The outlaws ran out of the place and 
at the beginning of the firing Deputy Speed was killed. Had- 
ley killed Dalton's horse and the bandit fell and laid motion- 
less on the ground. Hadley, believing him to be dead, ap- 
proached, but as he drew near Dalton jumped up and shot 
the deputy in the head, killing him instantly. The bandit then 
mounted the murdered officer's horse, and although severely 
wounded, he escaped. 

During the battle Deputy Houston and a clerk named Sim- 
mons were also killed, and S. W. Ransom, N. S. Murray and 
a twelve-year-old boy named Briggs were seriously wounded. 
All of the bandits escaped with the exception of Arkansas Tom, 
who was barricaded in the hotel and who subsequently sur- 
rendered on the condition that he would be protected from 
the mob. The next day it was ascertained that none of the 
bandits escaped without wounds. 

The last raid committed by the Dalton gang occurred at 
the First National Bank at Longview, Texas, at 3 p. m.. May 
23, 1894, At this time two roughly dressed men entered the 
bank and presented a note to President Clemmons, which read 
as follows: 

"Home, May 23rd. 

"This will introduce you to Charles Spreckelmeyers, who 
wants some money and is going to have it. B. and F." 

When Mr. Clemmons read the note and looked up, he 
was covered by a rifle in the hands of one bandit while the 

3i8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

other went behind the counter and secured $2000.00 in ten- 
dollar bills and nine twenty-dollar bills. City Marshal Muckley 
immediately learned of the raid and hurriedly gathered a posse 
who gave the robbers a hot battle. One of the bandits, Geo. 
Bennett, alias Jim Wallace, was killed as was also George 
Buckingham of the posse. Marshal Muckley and J. W. Mc- 
Queen, a saloon-keeper, received serious wounds. 

On June 7, 1894, a suspicious looking character, giving 
the name of Wall, came into the town of Ardmore, I. T., with 
two women who also acted quite mysteriously. They pur- 
chased about $200.00 worth of provisions and then called at 
the express office. The attention of the authorities was at- 
tracted by the peculiar actions of the trio, and while they made 
many conflicting statements, the information was elicited that 
they were living near a place called Elk. Sheriff Hart imme- 
diately organized a posse as he believed the provisions were 
purchased for some persons who feared to come to town, and 
as the Dalton gang was uppermost in his mind, he concluded 
that these three persons were connected with the gang. They 
were held prisoners and at 8 a. m. the next morning the house 
where it was suspected that Dalton was hiding was surrounded. 

Dalton came to one of the windows and seeing some of 
the posse he jumped from a window on the opposite side of 
the building and started to run. 

Sheriff Hart called on him to halt, but as he ignored the 
command, one shot was fired from the sheriff's rifle and Dalton 
dropped dead without uttering a word. 

The house was then searched and conclusive evidence 
was obtained, not only as to Dalton's identity, but also that he 
participated in the Longview bank robbery. The officials then 
returned to Ardmore and when the mysterious trio were in- 
formed of the death of Dalton, one of the women became 
hysterical and said she was Dalton's wife and that they were 
married at her home in Merced, California, in 1888. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 319 


(From Beaddle's "History of Mormonism" and Rankin's 
"History of the Mountain Meadow Massacre.") 

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, was born on De- 
cember 23, 1805, at Sharon, Vermont, but he subsequently 
moved to Manchester, N. Y. 

As a youth Joseph was wild and intemperate, but he 
claimed that the Lord sent heavenly messengers to tell him 
that his sins were forgiven. 

According to Smith's claim, angels notified him to go to 
Cumorah Hill, near Manchester, on September 22, 1826, and 
when he arrived there an angel descended from heaven and 
delivered to him a Golden Bible. On the leaves, which con- 
sisted of thin plates of gold, were hieroglyphics, which Smith 
claimed he translated "by the gift and power of God." From 
this translation the Book of Mormon was published, and on 
April 6, 1830, the Mormon Church was organized near 

Three men named Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris made 
affidavits that they were witnesses to the deliverance of the 
Golden Bible which, according to Smith's claim, the angels 
took back to heaven when the translation was completed. 

In February, 1833, Smith and two others were elected 
presidents of the church and were at once favored with "visions 
of the Savior and concourse of Angels." 

A few months later the Mormons established their church 
near Independence, Missouri, where the following, consisting 
of 1500 members, met with strong opposition from the old 
residents, who on November 4, 1833, destroyed the Mormons' 

320 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

property by fire and drove them across the river into Clay 

In 1837, the church had 12,000 members. While a large 
percentage of the Mormons were quiet and unoffending, others 
were constantly defying the government and openly declared 
their independence of all earthly rulers and magistrates. 

In May, 1839, they burned and plundered the town of 
Gallatin, Mo., and as a result Governor Boggs called out the 
militia. Prophet Joe Smith and many others were arrested, 
but after being imprisoned a short while they were permitted to 
go free, provided they would leave Missouri. 

They proceeded direct to Hancock County, 111., where 
they built a town, which they named Nauvoo. 

In April, 1840, Brigham Young, President of the Twelve 
Apostles, went to Europe for a year, where he established 

In 1841, Prophet Joe Smith drew up a charter for the 
town of Nauvoo, which was adopted by the legislature. Under 
this charter the mayor was an absolute czar of the town, and 
Smith was elected to the office. 

He claimed that on July 12, 1843, God expressly com- 
manded him to inform the Mormons that it was desirable that 
each man have more than one wife, so that the earth may be 
multiplied and replenished. 

On June 24, 1844, Governor Ford ordered the "Prophet," 
Mayor Smith, and his brother Hyrum to consider themselves 
under arrest on a charge of treason, for declaring martial law 
in Nauvoo in open resistance to legal process. 

Smith and his brother surrendered and were placed in 
jail at Carthage. 

As there were many rumors that the indignant citizens 
intended to lynch Smith, a company of militia, in command 
of Captain R. F, Smith, was detailed to guard the jail. 

At 6 p. m. on June 27, 1844, a great mob, armed with 
weapons, rushed upon and overpowered the guard. They then 
broke into the jail and shot and instantly killed Hyrum Smith 
in his cell. The "Prophet" jumped out of a second-story win- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 321 

dow, and as he struck the ground his body was completely 
riddled with bullets. 

During the next year, the College of Twelve Apostles, of 
which Brigham Young was president, ruled the church. 

In 1845, the legislature revoked the charter prepared by 

Thefts were constantly being committed, and the Mormons 
were nearly always blamed for them, whether there was evi- 
dence to justify the accusation or not. 

In May, 1846, a mob of Anti-Mormons ordered about 150 
Mormon families residing near Nauvoo away from their homes. 
They refused to go, whereupon their houses were burned to the 

At this time public prejudice against the Mormons, espe- 
cially the polygamists, was rapidly increasing and the leaders 
realized that they could not remain in this community. 

In June, 1846, the majority of them moved and the main 
body concentrated near Omaha. A few months later those 
who remained behind were driven out. 

On July 24, 1847, Young and the first party of Mormons 
entered Salt Lake City, Utah, where Brigham Young was 
given all the power formerly held by Smith. 

On September 9, 1850, Congress passed an act to organize 
the territory of Utah, and President Fillmore appointed Brig- 
ham Young governor. 

In 1852, Lieutenant Gunnison and a party of eight United 
States topographical engineers were massacred. It was re- 
ported that the outrages were committed by Indians, but 
apostates who subsequently escaped claimed that the deeds were 
done by painted Mormons. 

In the early part of September, 1857, a company of emi- 
grants from Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois, which was led 
by Captain William Fancher, entered Salt Lake City, en route 
to California. This train consisted of 166 people, including 
men, women and children, who were well supplied with money, 
horses and cattle and everything necessary to make the trip as 

comfortable as possible. 


322 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Dr. Brewer, of the United States Army, said that it was 
"probably the finest train that ever started across the plains." 

The Mormons claimed that while in Salt Lake City some of 
the members of this party were very indiscreet in expressing 
their opinion of the Mormon religion, and it was also alleged 
that one of this party boasted that he participated in the killing 
of the founder of the church. 

It was furthermore claimed that these emigrants killed an 
ox by means of poison and fed the meat to the Indians, killing 
four, but Jacob Hamblin, a Mormon employed as an Indian 
interpreter, and several other reputable people, who had an 
opportunity to observe the actions of the emigrants, stated that 
outside of denouncing polygamy they did nothing to offend 
the Mormons. 

When these emigrants had been at Salt Lake City but a 
few days they were astounded to find that under no circum- 
stances could they purchase food or anything else from the 
Mormons, and shortly afterward they were ordered from the 

According to testimony afterward given by Bishop Klin- 
gensmith, President Isaac Haight, his superior in the church, 
preceded the emigrant train on their journey west and warned 
his followers not to supply them with provisions. 

Among the emigrants was a young man named William A. 
Aden, who recognized William Laney, a Mormon residing at 
Parowan, Utah, as the person whose life he had saved from 
an anti-Mormon mob in Tennessee some years previously. The 
grateful Laney also recognized his benefactor and after em- 
bracing Aden, took him to his home and supplied him with 
potatoes and onions. 

According to a confession subsequently made by John D. 
Lee, whom Brigham Young appointed Bishop of Harmony, 
Washington County, and also "Farmer to the Pahute Indians," 
the Aden-Laney incident was reported to Bishop Dame a few 
hours after its occurrence and the latter raised his hand and 
crooked his little finger, whereupon his (Dame's) brother-in- 
law, Barney Carter, went to Laney and struck him over the 


Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 323 

head with a picket from a fence, fracturing his skull. Although 
the man recovered his mind became deranged. 

On their way west, Captain Fancher's company of emi- 
grants came upon a beautiful and fertile spot, known as 
Mountain Meadows. As this spot, which was about 200 miles 
from Salt Lake City, was an ideal pasture land, it was decided 
to stop there and recruit their stock preparatory to entering 
the parched desert. 

At daybreak on Monday, September 7, 1857, the emigrants, 
several of whom were still asleep, were attacked, apparently 
by Indians, and at the first volley seven were killed and fifteen 

With great rapidity and rare presence of mind the emi- 
grants divided into two parties; one being assigned to give 
battle to the "Indians" while the remainder wheeled their 
vehicles around as a protection for the women and children. 
They then banked dirt up against the wheels and within a few 
moments were far better fortified than the attacking party, who 
were forced to remain at a distance. The emigrants held this 
fort for four days, but the "Indians" killed their stock and 
members of the party at every opportunity. 

As water became scarce, two little girls dressed in white 
were sent to a near-by spring with a bucket, but as they went 
forth hand in hand they were riddled with bullets. 

On September 11 it was decided to decoy the emigrants 
from their stronghold. 

A flag of truce was then displayed by the attacking "In- 
dians," and in response the emigrants waved a white garment. 
To their surprise, a white man, who proved to be John D. Lee, 
marched up with another man and met an envoy from the be- 
leaguered camp. With a great display of indignation Lee de- 
nounced the "Indians" for murdering innocent and unoffending 
emigrants. He explained his position in the Mormon Church 
and government and told the envoy that if the emigrants would 
lay down their arms and march out peacefully, his party would 
protect them from the "Indians." 

As their supply of food was gone and they could not 
obtain water, the emigrants gladly accepted this offer. Under 

324 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

the direction of Lee their arms were loaded in a wagon into 
which were also placed all babies who were presumed to be too 
young to talk. 

The emigrants were then instructed to form in single file 
and Lee, who remained with the wagon containing the seven- 
teen babies and numerous weapons, led them along a road, one 
side of which was lined with brush. 

Suddenly he turned around and shot and killed the nearest 
person to him, a woman. It was subsequently learned that this 
shot was the prearranged signal for action all along the line. 
The instant it was fired "Indians" rushed out from behind the 
brush and opened fire on the emigrants, every one in the party 
except the seventeen babies being killed. These babies were 
subsequently delivered to J. Forney, Superintendent of Indian 

Some of the young women were frightfully abused, even 
as they were dying from their wounds. 

All jewelry, money, stock and desirable clothing was then 
seized and the bodies left where they fell. 

Eight days later. Interpreter Jacob Hamblin visited the 
scene of the butchery and found that wolves and ravens had 
torn the bodies to pieces, but he buried what remained of 120 

On November 20, 1857, Lee made a report of the massacre 
to Brigham Young, in which he claimed that the Pahute 
Indians were responsible for the slaughter and he also charged 
that the outrage was committed because the emigrants fed the 
Indians poisoned cattle. 

On January 6, 1858, Governor Brigham Young made a 
report to Jas. W. Denver, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, at 
Washington, D. C, in which he quoted parts of Lee's report, 
and condemned the emigrants for treating the Indians like 
ferocious beasts. He also claimed that the massacre of Lieu- 
tenant Gunnison and party was due to inhuman treatment of 
the Indians by a party which preceded Gunnison. 

The years rolled by and the story invented by Lee was 
accepted as true in the absence of proof to the contrary. 

But "murder will out," and two of the little children, who 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 325 

were presumed to be too young to remember, subsequently told 
what they knew, and it finally reached the ears of the federal 
authorities, who gradually learned more and more of the de- 
tails of the massacre. 

In the summer of 1874, the grand jury of the second Judi- 
cial District Court found an indictment against Lee. 

In June, 1875, he was tried before a jury composed of two 
Gentiles, nine regular Saints of the Mormon Church and one 
renegade Mormon. The jury disagreed and the second trial 
began in September, 1876. This time the jury was composed 
entirely of Mormons. 

Labin Morrill, a Mormon, testified that there was great 
excitement over the alleged statement of some of the emigrants 
that they had participated in the killing of Joseph Smith, and 
as a consequence a council was held at Cedar City, at which 
Bishop Klingensmith and President Haight decreed that the 
emigrants must die.* 

Samuel Knight, another Mormon, swore that Lee accom- 
panied the flag of truce to the emigrants' camp and superin- 
tended the forming of the line of emigrants. Knight also 
swore that he saw Lee kill the first woman in the line. 

Samuel McCurdy swore that one Bateman carried the flag 
of truce and that Lee accompanied him. He also testified that 
he saw Lee kill the woman, which was the prearranged signal 
for the general slaughter. 

Jephi Johnson corroborated the other witnesses and also 
testified that he subsequently saw some of the emigrants' stock 
at Lee's home. 

Jacob Hamblin testified to burying 120 bodies, and he fur- 
thermore swore that Lee admitted to him that he cut the throat 
of a seventeen-year-old girl named Dunlap during the massacre. 

* According to Linn's history, there was another motive for 
this outrage. 

A fanatical defender of polygamy named Parley Pratt, while 
in San Francisco in June, 1855, induced the wife of Hector Mc- 
Lean, a custom house official, to accept the Mormon faith and 
elope with him to Utah as his ninth wife. McLean traced them 
to Fort Gibson, Arkansas, where he killed Pratt, but as he was 
exonerated, it was decided to hold all Arkansans accountable for 
Pratt's death. 

326 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Hamblin also swore that he informed Brigham Young of what 
had transpired and that the latter replied : 

"As soon as we can get a court of justice we will ferret this 
thing out ; but until then don't say an}i:hing about it." 

Klingensmith, a former Mormon Bishop, turned State's 
evidence. He not only corroborated the testimony of Morrill, 
Johnson and Knight, but testified that the massacre was com- 
mitted by Indians and Mormons painted as Indians. He also 
swore that Lee sold much of the emigrants' property at public 

Lee took the witness stand and admitted his guilt but swore 
that President Haight of the Church promised him a "celestial 
reward" for his services. 

The defendant was found guilty and on April 23, 1877, 
twenty years after the massacre. United States Marshal Nelson 
and posse took him to the scene of the crime to be shot to death. 

The condemned man sat on the edge of his coffin and his 
only request was that the five soldiers move closer to him be- 
fore they fired. The request was complied with and Lee then 
laised his arms over his head and when the command "Fire" 
was given the rifle balls pierced his heart. 

Shortly after the massacre was committed it was generally 
sfaspected among the better class of Mormons that Lee was the 
instigator of the foul plot and he was ostracized and abhorred 
for years before his indictment. Towards the last the abject 
wretch had an unceasing dread of vengeance; he seldom left 
his home and it is said that he would undoubtedly have gone 
insane if the merciful bullets had not put an end to his miserable 

* Klingensmith made his first confession some time pre- 
vious to the trial, and when Brigham Young obtained positive 
proof of Lee's guilt the latter was excommunicated from the 
Church, and Young subsequently rendered every assistance to 
the prosecution. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 327 


(Utah Reports and Salt Lake Police Records.) 

Peter Mortensen was a prominent contractor and builder 
in Salt Lake City, Utah, and purchased considerable material 
from the Pacific Lumber Company, of which James R. Hay 
was secretary and treasurer. 

As Mortensen owed this company $3,907 and had been 
requested to immediately liquidate the indebtedness, he called 
at the office of the company on December 16, 1901, about 6 
p. m., for the purpose of arranging for a settlement. 

He there met Secretary Hay and Manager Romney, and 
gave them an order on another person for $107, and stated 
that he had the balance, $3,800, at his home at Forest Dale, 
a suburb of the city, and added that if Mr. Hay, who resided 
in the same neighborhood, would call upon him that night 
with a receipted bill, the balance would be paid. 

It was nearly 8 p. m. when the three men left the office; 
Mr. Hay and Mortensen proceeded homeward on the Calders 
Park car. Hay having the receipted bill in his possession. He 
arrived at his home at 8:45 p. m., and after supper informed 
his wife and children that he was going over to Mortensen's 
house to collect some money, and that he would soon return. 

At 10:20 p. m. Mrs. Hay and her children retired, but 
at 1 a. m. she awoke and became alarmed at the long absence 
of her husband. Mrs. Hay remained awake and at 3 a. m. 
she went to Mortensen's home, and after arousing him, in- 
quired for her husband. Mortensen appeared extremely ner- 
vous and stated that Mr. Hay had left his house hours before 
and had gone to Mr. Romney's house; adding that he had 
probably missed the last car home. The next morning Mrs. 
Hay telephoned to Mr. Romney, who informed her that he 

328 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

had not seen her husband since 8 o'clcxrk the preceding eve- 
ning. Romney then communicated with Mortensen, who stated 
that on the preceding evening he had paid $3,800 to Hay in 
twenty-dollar gold pieces, which he had concealed in glass 
jars in his cellar, and that Hay then started to his (Romney's) 

Mr. James Sharp, the father of Mrs. Hay, upon being 
informed of the disappearance of his son-in-law, went with 
the police to Mortensen's home. The latter produced the re- 
ceipt, which he stated Hay gave him for the money, and 
explained that he and the missing man sat on a small settee 
while counting the money. The following conversation then 
took place between the aged Mormon, Sharp, and Mortensen : 

Sharp — Where did you last see my son-in-law? 

Mortensen — Here (indicating a spot on the walk about 
ten feet from the house). 

Sharp — If that is the last place you saw him, that 
where you killed him. 

Mortensen — How do you know he is dead? 

Sharp — I have had a vision and the proof to you will 
that within twenty-four hours and within one mile of the s\ 
where you are standing, his dead body will be dug up from 
the field. 

Mortensen appeared dumfoimded but made no reply. 
At this time the ground was covered with snow. 

On the next morning, December 18, Frank Torgersen was 
looking for horses in a field near Mortensen's house and near 
a fence which ran parallel with the Park City railroad track, 
he discovered considerable blood. This caused him to make 
a close inspection of the neighborhood, with the result that 
he found a snow-covered mound about the size of a grave. 
Torgersen then proceeded to Mortensen's house, where he 
asked for a shovel. Mortensen loaned him a shovel, stating 
it was the only one he possessed, although another shovel was 
subsequently found which had the appearance of being re- 
cently cleaned. Torgersen then returned to the mound and 
after digging for a few moments, unearthed the body of Hay. 
A bullet wound was found in the back of his head. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 329 

The news of this discovery spread like wildfire and a 
number of people repaired to the scene, among them being 
Royal B. Young. 

Mr. Romney observed Hay as he put the receipt for 
Mortensen in his inside coat pocket on the evening of the 
16th, and when the body was examined this pocket was found 
turned inside out, but a watch and other jewelry were left 

The body was then placed in a wagon and brought to 
town, Mortensen accompanying the remains. In front of 
Hendry's store the wagon was stopped and the father-in-law, 
Sharp, appeared. Standing beside Mortensen and looking at 
his dead son-in-law he said : "He murdered you for a receipt 
that was on your body and he never gave you a dollar." 
Mortensen made no reply but hung his head. 

To men named Penrose, Hilton and Sheets he made con- 
flicting statements as to what kind and number of receptacles 
were used to store the $3,800 alleged to have been paid to 
Hay, and also as to where they were concealed. To one he 
said a sack was used; to another he said two glass fruit jars 
were necessary, and to the third he stated that three jars 
were needed. To two of the witnesses he claimed that the 
money was concealed on a wall in the basement, and to an- 
other he stated that a portion of it was hid in the pantry. 

Upon indicating the place on the wall where the jars were 
alleged to have been concealed, an examination was imme- 
diately made and it was found that the dust was undisturbed. 
There were four openings for windows in this basement, thus 
making it very light, but there were no windows and the base- 
ment was accessible to strangers. If the glass jars had been 
placed in the position indicated, the jars and contents could 
have been easily seen, and it was furthermore demonstrated 
that one jar of the size described by Mortensen would have 
been sufficient to hold this money. 

Charles F. Watkins, the brother-in-law of Mortensen, 
stated that he asked Peter if he could show that he had paid 
Hay the money and he replied : "I can, but as my books are 
in bad shape it will be necessary for me to represent that you 

330 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

have loaned me $1,500." Watkins replied that his own bank 
account would not permit such misrepresentations. 

It was shown that the settee upon which Mortensen 
claimed he and Hay sat while counting the money was too 
small for two men to sit on. 

The moon was shining brightly on the night of this homi- 
cide, and John Allen, a motorman, stated that his car passed 
the spot where the body was found about 10:20 p. m., and he 
saw a man with a shovel on his shoulder cross the track. 
With the aid of the moon and the headlight he recognized 
this man as Mortensen. 

On December 18 Mortensen was arrested. During the 
trial, James Sharp, the father-in-law of the murdered man, tes- 
tified and on cross-examination counsel for the defendant 
elicited from the witness the statement that he had received a 
revelation from God, who told him that Peter Mortensen had 
murdered his son-in-law for a receipt and buried the body in 
a nearby field. 

As four of the jurors were members of the Mormon 
church and believed in the doctrine of revelation, this state- 
ment was regarded as most damaging to Mortensen's case. 

His business transactions and financial condition were also 
the subject of much investigation, and evidence was produced 
tending to show the impossibility of the defendant possessing 
$3,800 on the night of the tragedy. 

Mortensen testified as to his movements on this night, 
and described in detail the manner in which he claimed he 
handed one hundred and ninety twenty-dollar pieces to Hay 
as they sat on the settee, and also described the manner in 
which he claimed Hay left the house shortly afterward. 

Mrs. Mortensen corroborated several of her husband*] 

The jury then visited the home of Mortensen in charge 
Royal B. Young, who was at the grave when the body 
Hay was exhumed, and who accompanied the authorities in 
their investigation at Mortensen's home. Mortensen declined 
to accompany the jury on this tour of inspection. 

The defendant was found guilty of murder but the case 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 331 

was appealed to the Supreme Court because of the miscon- 
duct of the jury and Young at the premises. 

Alma H. Rock, a juror, averred that Young informed the 
jurors that the premises had been changed since the day of 
the murder and that he (Young) indicated a spot near a 
fence where he found a depression in the snow which was 
caused, according to his opinion, by the body being thrown 
over the fence, the head striking the snow. Young admitted 
that Rock's affidavit was true and a new trial was granted, 
which resulted in another conviction. 

The case was again appealed to the Supreme Court on 
the grounds of newly discovered evidence, but another trial 
was denied. 

On October 6, 1903, Judge Morse sentenced Mortensen 
to be executed on November 20, but as the law permitted the 
condemned man to decide whether he desired to be hanged 
or shot, the Judge asked : 

"What mode of execution do you elect?" 

Mortensen stood erect and in a firm voice replied: "I 
elect to be shot." 

On November 14, the State Board of Pardons refused to 
commute the sentence. 

On the night before the execution Governor Wells spent 
a greater part of the night with Mortensen, who presented a 
most ingenious defense, but the Governor declined to interfere. 

On November 20 Mortensen was led into the prison yard 
at 10 :30 a. m., and maintaining his courage to the last, he said : 

"I did not kill Jimmy Hay. Neither here nor in the here- 
after will I forgive those who are responsible for my death." 

He refused to see a minister of any denomination and 
also refused stimulants, explaining that he needed neither. 

After bidding the guards good-by he was bound in the 
chair provided for the execution. A physician pinned a piece 
of white pasteboard over Mortensen's heart, while the execu- 
ting squad, consisting of five men, were concealed behind a 
curtain hung in the door of the blacksmith shop about twelve 
yards distant. These men were handed loaded rifles, but one 
of the rifles contained a blank cartridge, thus making it im- 

332 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

possible for any one of the squad to be positive whether he 
fired a bullet or a harmless blank cartridge. 

At the command "fire" four bullets pierced the cardboard 
and passed through Mortensen's heart. His head dropped 
on his breast, his hands quivered a moment and then all was 


(From Denver Press, Boise Police and Pinkerton Records.) 

From 1892 to 1905 a series of the most cowardly and 
atrocious crimes were committed in the gold and silver mining 
regions in Idaho and Colorado. 

As these crimes were nearly always committed during 
the frequent strikes, many of those who were antagonistic 
to the unions claimed that the union sympathizers were respon- 
sible for the outrages ; but the friends of the union men claimed 
that the crimes were committed by agents employed by the 
enemies of organized labor for the purpose of turning public 
sympathy from the strikers and as an excuse to keep troops 
on the grounds during the strikes. 

The first disturbance of any magnitude occurred at 4 a. 
m., on July 11, 1892, when a battle between the union and 
non-union miners occurred at the Frisco mine at Gem, Idaho. 

During the battle, J. Bean, a Theil detective, and four 
miners named James Hennessy, John Starlick, Gus Carlson 
and Harry Cummings were killed and fifteen others were se- 
riously wounded. The mill was then blown up. 

Governor Willey appealed to President Harrison for Fed- 
eral troops, and on July 13, General Schofield, Acting Secre- 
tary of War, sent troops into the Coeur d'Alenes district, 
where martial law was declared. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 333 

On July 16 President Harrison issued a proclamation in 
which he commanded the rioters to disperse. After a short 
time conditions became normal and the troops were with- 

At 10:15 a. m., on April 29, 1899, a gang of armed men 
from Burke, Idaho, seized the Northern Pacific train at Wal- 
lace, and after picking up reinforcements at Gem and Mullen, 
they proceeded to Wardner, Idaho, where the Bunker Hill- 
Sullivan mine was located. 

This party consisted of several hundred men, and they 
proceeded directly to the Bunker Hill-Sullivan mill, where they 
engaged in a battle with the men at work there. 

This fight resulted in the death of Jack Smith and Jim 
Chayne. The mill was then blown up and set on fire. 

At the request of Governor Steunenburg, President Mc- 
Kinley sent Federal troops to Wardner, where the so-called 
"bull pen" was established and martial law was again de- 
clared. Hundreds were incarcerated in the "bull pen," but 
the prisoners were afterward released without being charged, 
with the exception of P. Corcoran, who was convicted of the 
Bunker Hill outrage, but he was subsequently pardoned. 

After many months the troops were withdrawn. 

In August, 1903, nearly all the miners in Colorado and 
Idaho who were affiliated with the Western Federation of 
Miners went on a strike because the demand that eight hours 
should constitute a day's work was not complied with in all 

On September 2, 1903, Governor James Peabody, of Colo- 
rado, sent Brigadier-General Chase and Attorney-General Mil- 
ler to Cripple Creek to investigate the alleged lawless con- 
ditions, and as a result of their report he sent the National 
Guard, in command of Adjutant-General Bell, to the Cripple 
Creek district, on September 4, 1903; but martial law was 
not declared at that time. 

President Moyer, of the Western Federation, protested 
to the Governor against this action, as he stated that conditions 
did not warrant it. 

On the following day many citizens of Victor, Colo., held 

334 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

£ mass meeting, at which they denounced the Governor for 
sending the troops. 

About noon on November 21, 1903, an explosion occurred 
in the Vindicator mine at Cripple Creek, which killed Super- 
intendent Charles McCormick and Melvin Beck, a shift boss. 

At first opinion was divided as to whether the explosion 
was the result of an accident or a deep-laid plot, but shortly 
afterward a badly mutilated pistol was found near the scene 
of the explosion, and it was then generally agreed that this 
weapon was used in some manner to explode the dynamite. 

On December 4, 1903, Governor Peabody declared mar- 
tial law in the Cripple Creek district, and Provost Marshal 
Thos. McClelland took possession of the Mayor's office.. 

On June 6, 1904, twenty-six of the non-union men who 
were working in a mine at Independence, Colo., finished their 
day's work at 2 a. m., and, according to custom, repaired at 
once to the depot to board a suburban train which was due at 
2:30 a. m. 

While these men were waiting on the platform a terrific 
explosion occurred which completely demolished the depot and 
wrecked several houses in the neighborhood. 

Fourteen men were killed and the remainder injured, 
some being made cripples for life. 

A convention of the Western Federation of Miners was 
being held at the time, and on the following day a resolution 
was unanimously passed in which the perpetrators of the out- 
rage were bitterly denounced. 

Mr. Fred Bradley was manager of the Bunker Hill-Sulli- 
van mine at the time the company's mill was blown up in 1899. 
He subsequently moved to San Francisco and lived with 
his family at the northwest corner of Washington and Leaven- 
worth streets, in a building containing several flats which was 
the property of Attorney Walter Linforth. 

At 7:50 a. m., on November 17, 1904, Mr. Bradley was 
about to leave home to go to his office, and while in the house 
he lighted a cigar. 

When he opened the front door a terrific explosion oc- 
curred which could be heard for blocks. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 335 

It seemed a miracle that Mr. Bradley was not killed in- 
stantly, but he escaped with serious injuries, from which he 
has since practically recovered. 

Experts decided that the explosion was caused by de- 
fective gas pipes, and this opinion was approved by members 
of Mr. Bradley's family, who had frequently detected the odor 
of illuminating gas in the house. 

Mr. Linforth brought suit against the San Francisco Gas 
Company, and a jury awarded him $10,800 damages. 

About 1 a. m. on May 12, 1904, several shotgun reports 
were heard in front of a residence in Denver, Colo., and shortly 
afterward the body of a man was found which proved to be 
the remains of a private detective named Lyte Gregory. The 
upper part of the. body was riddled with buckshot, but at the 
time no trace of the murderer could be found. 

Frank Steunenburg was born in 1861. Early in life he 
obtained employment in a newspaper office, and in 1887 he 
moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where he published the Caldwell 

In 1890 he was a member of the Idaho Constitutional 
Convention, and in 1897 he was elected Governor of the 
State. Before his term of office expired he was a candidate 
for United States Senator, but was defeated. When he re- 
tired to private life he returned to his old home in Caldwell. 

At 6:40 p. m., on December 30, 1905, Mr. Steunenburg 
was walking to his home, which was in the suburbs of the 
town, and as he opened the gate leading into his yard an ex- 
plosion occurred which could be heard for miles. 

Mrs. Steunenburg rushed out and found her husband lying 
on the snow, his body being terribly mangled. He died a few 
moments afterward. 

The gate was blown away and the ground was considerably 
torn up in that vicinity. A careful search was made, and a 
short piece of fish-line was found. 

Governor Gooding was immediately notified, and a reward 
of $5,000 was at once offered for the apprehension of the 
perpetrator of this deed. Additional rewards were also.oflfered 
by others, bringing the total up to $25,000. 

33^ Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Every avenue of escape from the city was guarded and 
an inquiry was then instituted regarding the movements of 
every person in the town who was not known to be above 

The result was that on January 1, 1906, the authorities 
learned that a man who was registered at the Saratoga Hotel 
as M. J. Goglan had acted very mysteriously both before and 
after the explosion. 

He was interrogated at length, but his answers were so 
evasive and unsatisfactory that it was decided to take him 
into custody. 

His room was searched, and while plaster of paris, chlor- 
ide of potash and other articles were found, the presence of 
which he could not explain, the most damaging evidence was 
a little piece of fish-line similar to that found near the scene 
of the explosion. On his person were found some business 
cards which read: 

"Thomas Hogan, Colorado Agent Mutual Life Insurance 

When questioned as to his reason for using two names 
he was unable to explain. He was taken to jail, and within 
a few days he stated that his right name was Harry Orchard 
and that he was a miner and a member of Burke Union. 

On January 10, 1906, James McParland, the celebrated 
Pinkerton detective, of "Mollie Maguire" fame, arrived on 
the ground, and after a long interview with Governor Good- 
ing, went to work on the case. 

On January 16, 1906, Orchard was held to answer for the 
murder of Governor Steunenburg. 

On February 17 a great sensation was sprung when Chas. 
H. Moyer, President of the Western Federation of Miners; 
Wm. D. Haywood, Secretary-treasurer of the same order, and 
George Pettibone, formerly a member of the executive board, 
but then a merchant, were arrested in Denver and charged 
with being accomplices in the Steunenburg murder. 

A special train was chartered and the prisoners were at 
once taken to Boise, Idaho. Shortly afterward a member of 
the Federation named Steve Adams was also arrested. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 337 

On February 24 a special Grand Jury was empanelled, and 
indictments were found against Moyer, Haywood, Pettibone, 
Orchard, Adams and Jack Simkins, also a member of the Fed- 
eration and said to be a fugitive from justice. 

It was then rumored that the indictments were found on 
confessions made by Orchard and Adams, but the prosecu- 
tion refused to divulge the nature of the evidence until the 

On March 9, 1906, the defendants were arraigned before 
District Judge Frank Smith at Caldwell. Attorneys E. F. 
Richardson of Denver and Clarence Darrow of Chicago ap- 
peared as the leading counsel for Moyer, Haywood and Petti- 

They contended that their clients had been illegally re- 
moved from Colorado and that the enemies of the Federation 
had succeeded in causing Orchard to implicate the head of- 
ficials of the order for the purpose of striking a blow at or- 
ganized labor. 

An application was made to the Supreme Court of Idaho 
for a release of the prisoners on writs of habeas corpus. This 
was denied on March 12, but as Moyer, Haywood and Petti- 
bone were being detained in the penitentiary, the court ordered 
that they be removed to the Canyon County Jail, which was 
done against the protest of Governor Gooding. 

On March 15 the attorneys for these prisoners applied to 
Judge Beatty, of the United States District Court, for their 
release on a writ of habeas corpus, but the writ was denied 
on March 20. The Supreme Court of the United States was 
then appealed to, and the trials were continued until a decision 
was rendered by the court of last resort. This court refused 
to interfere, and on June 4, 1907, the trial of Haywood began. 

He was accompanied into court by his invalid wife and 
aged mother. Attorney James Hawley made the opening state- 
ment for the prosecution. 

C. F. Wayne testified that he passed through tTie gate 
leading to Governor Steunenburg's residence twenty minutes 
before the explosion and noticed nothing unusual. 

Dr. J. W. Gue described the condition of the body of the 

338 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

murdered man, and Julian Steunenburg testified that he met 
Harry Orchard three days previous to the death of his (Steu- 
nenburg's) father, and that Orchard inquired as to when the 
ex-Governor was expected home. 

On June 5, 1907, Orchard was called to the witness stand 
and in the soft, easy tones that characterized his speech, he 
testified substantially as follows: 

"My right name is Albert E. Horsley, and I was born in 
Northumberland County, Canada, in 1866. There I spent the 
most of my life. After working at various occupations, my 
wife and I conducted a cheese factory. I deserted my wife 
and seven-months-old baby and ran away to America in 1896, 
with a married woman named Hattie Simpson, but we soon 
separated and she returned to her husband. 

"Shortly afterward I went to Spokane, Wash. From there 
I went to Wallace, Idaho, where I drove a milk wagon. 

"A year afterward I quit this occupation and went into the 
wood and coal business. 

"In March, 1899, I left this business and went to work in 
a mine at Burke, Idaho. 

"I immediately joined the Burke Union, which was con- 
nected with the Western Federation of Miners. 

"In April, 1899, there was some labor trouble at the Bun- | 
ker Hill-Sullivan mine at Wardner, and on the 29th inst. I 
accompanied a lot of men to the Bunker Hill mill, which we 
blew up, I personally lighting the fuse. Two men, named 
Cheyne and Smith, were killed during the battle which preceded 
the explosion. 

"I then went away from the mining country. 

"About July, 1902, I returned and procured employment 
at the Vindicator mine in Colorado. I worked in this mine 
until the general strike in August, 1903. 

"I did well in this mine, as I made considerable side money 
by 'high grading' (a term 'applied to stealing high grade ore 
and selling it). I met a widow named Mrs. Ida Toney, who 
had three children, and shortly afterward I married her, thus 
adding bigamy to my other crimes. 

"Some months after the strike, when the Vindicator mine 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 339 

was being operated by non-union men, I used to sneak down 
a shaft at night time and continued 'high grading.' While 
down there in November, 1903, I set some dynamite by a 
guard rail at the sixth level, and attached a pistol near the 
guard rail in such a position that moving the rail would cause 
it to be discharged and the bullet would strike the dynamite, 
causing it to explode. 

"On the 21st inst. this was exploded and Superintendent 
McCormick and Shift Boss Melvin Beck were killed. 

"In May, 1904, 1 met Steve Adams, also a Federation man, 
and we began to lay plans to kill Governor James H. Peabody 
of Colorado. We located his residence in Denver and ascer- 
tained that he frequently came home late at night in a hack. 

"One night we hid across the street under some trees with 
our pump guns, but instead of the Governor, three women got 
out of the hack. 

"A few nights after this Adams and I located a private 
detective named Lyte Gregory in a saloon in Denver. We 
always considered this man an enemy of the Federation, so 
when he left the saloon we followed him on to a dark street 
and I shot him three times with my pump gun. He died 
shortly afterward. 

"On June 5, 1904, Johnnie Neville (who has since died) 
and I left Independence, Colo., to go on a hunting trip, but 
I returned to Independence that night and met Steve Adams 
according to agreement. 

"We then took about one hundred pounds of dynamite and 
placed it under the depot. I then arranged a little windlass on 
which was fastened a small bottle of sulphuric acid. This was 
placed over some giant caps which were placed on the dyna- 
mite. Spilling the acid on the caps would explode them and 
the concussion caused by that explosion would explode the 
dynamite. I then fastened a long wire to the windlass. We 
took the other end of the wire and remained in a secluded spot 
until the non-union miners came on to the platform about 
2 :30 a. m. We then pulled the wire and the whole depot was 
blown up and of the thirty men on the platform, fourteen were 

340 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

killed and the remainder wounded, some being made cripples 
for life. 

"I immediately left Adams and returned on horseback to 
Neville. I remained in seclusion for a couple of months. 

"In August, 1904, 1 went to San Francisco for the purpose 
of killing Fred. Bradley. I located his home, but I learned 
that he was out of the city and would not return for two 
months, so I went into the country. When I returned I rented 
a room from Mrs. Soward on Washington street, near Brad- 
ley's home. 

"I frequently patronized the corner saloon and grocery 
store conducted by one Guibbini, and there met Miss Sadie 
Bell, one of Bradley's servant girls. I was introduced as Mr. 
Berry and took her to the theater. When Bradley returned 
home in the latter part of October I decided to poison him by 
putting strychnine in the milk bottles left by the milkman in 
the morning. 

"My attempt to poison him proved unsuccessful, as the 
family detected that the milk was bitter and had it analyzed. 

"This failing, I decided to blow him up with a bomb, 
which I arranged somewhat similarly to the one used at In- 
dependence depot, only I used gelatine instead of dynamite, 
and had the string fastened to the windlass attached to the 
front door so that the acid would be poured on the caps 
when the door was opened. 

"I did considerable experimenting in my room, and one 
day I went out and forgot to put the different articles away, 
and the landlady saw them. 

"On the early morning of November 17 I set the bomb 
which blew out the front of the house and inflicted serious 
injuries to Mr. Bradley. I returned to Denver in December, 
1904, and lived with Steve Adams. 

"A few weeks later Adams and I attempted to assassinate 
Chief Justice Gabbert, of the Colorado Supreme Court, but 
as' we never had an opportunity to carry out our plans we 
finally decided to start after Governor Peabody again. 

"We carried the guns that we had the night I killed Lyte 
Gregory the detective, but after trailing Peabody for weeks 


Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 341 

we decided that we could not safely kill him in that manner, 
so early one morning we buried a bomb in the snow on the 
sidewalk near his home and stood off some distance, having 
hold of one end of a fine wire, the other end being attached 
to the acid bottle suspended over the giant caps. 

"Just as the Governor passed by the bomb several people 
were near us, so we did not dare pull the wire. We then dug 
the bomb out of the snow and left. 

"In January, 1905, I moved to a little place near Denver, 
called Globeville. 

"The union men there were out on a strike, and as they 
belonged to the Western Federation I wanted to blow up a 
lodging-house in which were domiciled three hundred non- 
union men. Haywood and Moyer heard of my plans and 
ordered me not to carry them into execution. 

"About April, 1905, I procured a contract to write in- 
surance for the Mutual Life Insurance Company, using the 
name of Thomas Hogan, the object being to show that I had 
a legitimate occupation if called to account for my move- 

"I then proceeded to Canon City, Colo., where Governor 
Peabody then lived. I prepared a bomb with the intention 
of blowing up his home while he was there, but I did not 
have an opportunity. 

"About June 1 I returned to Denver and I decided to 
kill Judge Gabbert, of the Supreme Court. I studied his 
movements and I buried a bomb, something similar to the 
one I used at Bradley's, near a short cut through a lot that 
he usually used to go down town in the morning. I had a 
wire attached to it which just reached to the top of the 
ground, and when I saw him coming I intended to fasten a 
purse to the wire, expecting he would stop to pick up the 

"Just as he appeared another man came near from an- 
other direction, and as he would see mie if I attached the 
purse, I had to abandon my plans for the time being. 

"In a few days, however, I decided to make another 
bomb and set it near the first one, as I was afraid to touch 

342 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

the first one. I did so, but instead of killing Judge Gabbert 
a stranger was blown to pieces. I then determined to blow 
up Judge Goddard. I buried a bomb by his gate and attached 
the string fastened to an acid bottle to the gate so that the 
acid would spill when the gate was opened. This bomb 
failed to work and I left it there. 

"In the latter part of October, 1905, Jack Simpkins and 
I went to Caldwell, Idaho, for the purpose of assassinating 
ex-Governor Steunenburg. 

"One day we ascertained that he was down town, and 
by our own observations we knew that he habitually traveled 
over a certain path in reaching his home. 

"We buried a bomb in this path and attached a wire to it 
which we figured would come in contact with his feet as he 
passed along, but it did not work. 

"I then returned and removed the bomb. 

"I did not make any further attempt to kill him until 
Christmas night, when I hid near his house with my shotgun, 
intending to shoot through the window at him, but again 
I was disappointed. 

"I left Caldwell, but returned in a couple of days and 
stopped at the Saratoga Hotel. 

"I saw Steunenburg on the streets of Caldwell on Sat- 
urday, so I went to my room and took a bomb I had already 
prepared and buried it in the snow near his gate post and 
fastened the wire attached to the acid bottle to the gate. I 
then hurried away and passed Steunenburg while he was on 
his way home. 

"Before I arrived at the hotel I heard the bomb explode." 

Orchard furthermore claimed that he had committed all 
these crimes because it was believed that the persons he 
assassinated or attempted to assassinate were antagonistic to 
the Federation. 

He testified that Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone had en- 
couraged him in much of his work and that Haywood had 
supplied him with money. 

Orchard was then turned over to Attorney Richardson 
for cross-examination. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 343 

It appears that some years before, " Orchard and several 
others purchased the Hercules mine when the value of the 
property was unknown. 

Orchard sold out for comparatively nothing, but subse- 
quently it was discovered that the property was very valuable, 
and as a consequence the owners, including August Paulson, 
became very wealthy. 

Mr. Richardson brought out the fact that Orchard visited 
Paulson's home at Wallace, Idaho, where he was cordially 
received by the entire family, and that while partaking of 
Paulson's hospitality he was arranging plans to kidnap his 
host's little boy and hold him for a $50,000 ransom. Con- 
fronted with the proof, Orchard reluctantly confessed that the 
charge was true and that inclement weather was all that 
prevented him from consummating the deed. 

After being on the witness stand several days. Orchard 
gave way to a great number of witnesses by whom it was 
proven by circumstantial evidence that Orchard had com- 
mitted all the crimes he had confessed to, but there was very 
little evidence produced to corroborate his claim that the 
officers of the Federation had aided and encouraged him in 
his fiendish work. 

Mrs. Sadie Swan, who as Miss Bell worked for Mr, 
Bradley in San Francisco, identified Orchard as a man she had 
often met at the corner grocery just previous to the ex- 
plosion in the Bradley home. 

She also recalled the occasion when the "bitter milk" 
was sent to the chemist to be analyzed. 

O. Crook, the milkman, testified that the Bradley family 
had complained to him about the bitter milk and that he took 
it to the city chemist to have it analyzed. 

P. L. McCleary, assistant city chemist of San Francisco, 
testified that he analyzed the milk and found between 40 and 
60 grains of strychnine in one bottle. 

Mrs. Soward, who conducted the rooming-house where 
Orchard had lodgings while laying his plans to assassinate 
Bradley, testified that one day when Orchard was out she 
went to his room and found a screw-eye in his door to which 

344 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

was attached a piece of fish line. She also found several 
other articles which led her to believe her roomer was an 
inventor. He was known to her as Berry. 

Judge L. M. Goddard, of the Colorado Supreme Court, 
testified that on February 13, 1906, Detective McParland in- 
formed him of Orchard's confession and that the next day 
General Wells dug up the bomb which Orchard had planted 
at his (Goddard's) gate. As this bomb was dug up on St. 
Valentine's Day, the Judge humorously referred to it as a 
"Valentine." It contained forty sticks of dynamite, thirty- 
seven of which were exploded in the presence of witnesses 
in the suburbs of Denver. 

On June 24 the prosecution closed and the defense began. 

On July 3 David C. Coates, former Lieutenant-Governor 
of Colorado, testified that Orchard asked him to act as a go- 
between in taking a ransom, as he intended to kidnap Paul- 
son's child. When Coates threatened to expose Orchard, the 
latter tried to pass it off as a joke. 

On July 10 Moyer took the witness stand. He denied 
all of Orchard's allegations so far as they connected him with 

Moyer testified that he was arrested at Ouray on De- 
cember 14, 1903, on a charge of desecrating the American 
flag by using it for advertising purposes. He was released 
on $7,000 bonds, but was immediately taken into custody by 
General Wells as a military prisoner and placed in the "bull 
pen," but was released a couple of months later. 

On July 11 Haywood took the stand in his own defense. 

He denied all of the charges made by Orchard so far as 
they referred to him. 

The evidence was concluded on July 23, and after sev- 
eral days of argument the case was finally submitted to the 
jury on Saturday, July 27. 

On Sunday mo|Tiing the jury came into court with the 
following verdict: 

"State of Idaho vs. William D. Haywood: 
"We, the jury in the above entitled cause, find the de- 
fendant not guilty. THOS. B. GESS, F^oreman." 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 345 

Pettibone's trial began at Boise on November 27, 1907, 
and the evidence was very similar to that produced in the 
Haywood case. 

On December 12 Orchard testified substantially the same 
as at the previous trial. On cross-examination, in reply to 
Attorney Darrow's question, he stated that the reason he had 
made a confession to Detective McParland was because he 
realized the enormity of his crimes and had decided to con- 
fess all of his sins and then ask God for forgiveness. 

It might be stated that some doubt Orchard's sincerity 
and are of the opinion that he confessed to all the crimes he 
committed only when he realized that McParland had a 
complete case against him for the murder of Governor 
Steunenburg and that his reasons for so doing was because 
.he expected that consideration would be shown him if he 
appeared as a witness for the prosecution. 

On December 21 Mrs. Ida Toney, the unfortunate widow 
who married Orchard believing him to be a single man, testi- 
fied for the prosecution and corroborated Orchard's testimony 
regarding a visit Pettibone made to Orchard's home on one 

Charlie Neville testified that he and his father accom- 
panied Orchard from Independence on a hunting trip on the 
day preceding the explosion at the depot, and on that night 
Orchard left their camp in a mysterious manner, returning 
about 3 a. m. the following day. 

On January 3, 1908, the cause was submitted to the jury, 
the attorneys for the defense having refused to argue the case. 
On the following day Pettibone was acquitted. 

The charge against Moyer was immediately taken up by 
Judge Wood, and Attorney Hawley for the prosecution sig- 
nified the desire of the State to have an order of dismissal 
entered. Judge Wood complied with the request, at the same 
time remarking that he considered it the proper course to 

On March 10, 1908, the case of Harry Orchard was 
called before Judge Wood in the District Court at Caldwell. 

He pleaded guilty and March 18 was the date set for 

34^ Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

sentence. On that date he was sentenced to be hanged 
on May 15. 

In passing sentence Judge Wood recommended that the 
State Board of Pardons commute the sentence to life im- 
prisonment. Shortly afterward a reprieve was granted until 
July 5. 

On July 1 the Pardon Board, consisting of Goremor 
Gooding, Secretary of State Lansdon and Attorney-General 
Gukeen, commuted the death sentence to imprisonment for 

Shortly after Orchard's confession, Steve Adams made 
a statement to Detective McParland in which he not only 
corroborated Orchard's confession, but added that he had com- 
mitted other murders in which Orchard did not participate. 

Fred Tyler, who was alleged to have jumped Jack Sim- 
kins' lumber claim in the wilds of St. Joe County, Idaho, and 
whose body was found in the woods on August 11, 1904, was 
murdered by Adams, according to his statement. In addi- 
tion to this, he claimed that he killed Arthur Collins and a 
man named Boule. 

Afterward Adams repudiated the entire "confession," and 
claimed that persons interested in the prosecution promised 
him immunity if he would make a "confession" implicating 
the Western Federation. 

This "confession" was not admitted as evidence, either in 
the trials of Haywood or Pettibone, nor was Adams used as 
a witness. 

On February 11, 1907, Adams was brought to trial at 
Wallace, Idaho, for the murder of Tyler. 

On March 6 the case was submitted to the jurors, who 
were unable to agree on a verdict, after deliberating thirty- 
one hours. 

In December he was again tried on the same charge at 
Rathdrum, Idaho, and again the jury disagreed. 

Adams was then removed to Telluride, Colo., to be tried 
for the murder of Arthur Collins, but a change of venue was 
granted and the trial began at Grand Junction, Colo., in June, 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 347 

19Q8. The defendant was acquitted and discharged from 

When Orchard's confession regarding the explosion at 
the Bradley home became known, the San Francisco Gas 
Company moved for a new trial on the grounds of newly 
discovered evidence, but this was refused. 

The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court, which 
decided that the granting of a new trial, on the grounds of 
newly discovered evidence, is largely discretionary with the 
trial court. It was furthermore decided that the affidavits 
relative to the new found evidence were not properly pre- 

On August 19, 1909, the Gas Company paid Linforth 
$13,904.50, being the original amount of damage, plus interest 
and costs. 

On July 21, 1909, Orchard was baptized by Elder Stew- 
ard, of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the prisoner 
now takes a leading part in conducting the religious services 
at the Penitentiary each Sabbath, 

348 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On March 9, 1873, Dr. William H. York left Fort Scott, 
Kansas, on horseback for his home in Independence, Kansas, 
and ajthough the days and weeks rolled by, he did not appear 
at ms home. Dr. York was in comfortable circumstances ; 
possessed of a cheerful disposition, and had friends galore 
who decided that he had not voluntarily disappeared, and they 
concluded that he had become the victim of foul play, as it 
was known that he had considerable money on his person. 

Senator and Colonel York employed detectives and joined 
them in the search for their missing brother. Excitement ran 
high throughout the State, and volunteer searching parties 
inspected nearly every foot of ground and dragged the rivers 
throughout the surrounding country. 

There was a little town called Cherryvale, about fifty 
miles from the south line of the State, and Dr. York was 
traced to this place. About two miles south of this town, on 
the main wagon road, stood a small frame tavern, having a 
room in front where meals were served to wayfarers by Wil- 
liam Bender and his family, who moved into the house in 
March, 1871. 

Bender was sixty-three years of age and Mrs. Bender 
was about sixty years old. The son was twenty-seven, and the 
daughter Katie was twenty-four years of age. The father and 
son were large, coarse appearing men, and the daughter was 
a large, masculine, red-faced woman who bore an exceedingly 
bad reputation. 

The family professed to be spiritualists and the daughter 
claimed that she possessed supernatural powers, as will be 
seen by the following advertisement inserted in the Kansas 
papers : 

"Professor Miss Kate Bender can heal disease, cure blind- 
ness, fits and deafness. Residence, 14 miles east of Independ- 
ence, on the road to Osage Mission. June 18, 1872." 

On April 3, 1873, a party of men rode up to this roadside 
tavern and asked the Bender family if they had heard or seen 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 349 

anything of the missing Dr. York, but they claimed to be igno- 
rant of his whereabouts. A few days afterward, another party 
called and made the same inquiry. The Bender family, fear- 
ing that they were suspected, hitched up their team and, with- 
out touching the household effects, drove away. 

On May 9, another searching party, while passing Ben- 
der's tavern, noticed its deserted appearance. This impressed 
them as being rather singular, and when they went to 'the 
rear of the house, they found that some hogs and calves had 
died there, evidently from thirst or hunger. This aroused sus- 
picion and the authorities instituted an investigation. 

In a small one-half acre orchard adjoining the house, the 
surface of the ground had been carefully plowed and har- 
rowed, but there had just been a heavy rainfall and in a cer- 
tain place the ground had settled very noticeably and the 
settled portion was about the size of a grave. The ground 
was then dug up and the badly decomposed body of Dr. York 
was found. The skull had been crushed and the throat cut. 
Before nightfall seven more bodies were exhumed and were 
subsequently identified as follows: 

No. 1, W. F. McCrotty, a resident of Cedarville, who 
was contesting a case before the land office in Independence 
and who probably stopped at Bender's for refreshments. 

No. 2. D. Brown, a resident of Cedarville, who had 
been trading horses in the neighborhood with a man named 
Johnson. Brown's body was decomposed beyond recognition, 
but it was identified through a silver ring which Brown wore 
and which he had shown to Johnson. 

No. 3. Henry F. McKenzie of Hamilton County, Indiana, 
who had been missing since December 5, 1872. He was en 
route to Independence for the purpose of locating there. His 
sister, Mrs. J. Thompson, identified his wearing apparel. 

Nos. '^ and 5. Mr. Longoer and his baby girl. This 
gentlemar had buried his wife in 1872 and was about to leave 
for Iowa 

Nos. 6 and 7 were the unidentified bodies of two men. 

In each instance the skull was battered to a pulp and the 
throat cut from ear to ear, with the exception of Mr. Lon- 

350 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

goer's eighteen-months-old girl, who died from suffocation. 
As there were no marks on the child's throat, and as she was 
lying under her father's body in the grave, it is probable that 
she was thrown in alive and was suffocated when her father's 
body was thrown in on top of her. 

The next day another body of a child was found, but it 
was so badly decomposed that it was impossible to ascertain 
its sex. Judging from the length of its golden hair and the 
size of the body, it was evidently the remains of an eight-year- 
old girl. This body was evidently butchered by a fiend. The 
breast bone was driven in ; the right knee was wrenched from 
its socket and the leg doubled up under the body. 

When the officers entered the deserted house they were 
met by an unbearable stench. It was then revealed how the 
whole series of crimes was committed. 

A little booth was formed by cloth partitions, in which 
the guests partook of their meals. The table was purposely 
set back so near this partition that when they sat in an up- 
right position in their chairs, the back of their heads would 
be against and indent this cloth. If the guests had the ap- 
pearance of having money in their possession, one or both of 
the male members of the family would patiently wait on the 
opposite side of the curtain with heavy stone-breaker's ham- 
mers, two of which were found by the officers, and when the 
guests sat upright and the impression of the back of their 
heads appeared on the cloth partition, the assassin, or asssassins 
in case two guests were to be disposed of I't once, would swing 
the hammers and crush in the victims' skulls. 

As people were constantly passing on the road who might 
stop at Bender's, it was necessary to get the bodies out of 
sight as quickly as possible, and for this purpooc a trapdoor 
was made in the floor, which was directly over a pit about six 
feet deep, which had been dug in the ground. After the 
body was thrown in the pit, the throat was cut fiom ear to 
ear, for fear there might be a spark of life yet remaining. 
It was the accumulation of congealed blood in the pit which 
caused the terrible stench. 

After it became dark, the grave would be dug and the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 351 

body buried. The reason for keeping the ground in the 
orchard constantly plowed and harrowed was to prevent the 
new graves from being noticed. 

When the neighbors learned of this series of atrocious 
murders, they became almost insane in their desire for ven- 
geance, and they immediately organized vigilance committees 
and scoured the country in the hopes of apprehending this 
family of fiends. 

About a mile from Bender's tavern was a grocery store 
conducted by a man named Brockman, who had been a part- 
ner of Bender's from 1869 to 1871. As both men were Ger- 
mans and close friends, it was suspected that Brockman was 
an accomplice in some of the murders, or at least could impart 
valuable information, both as regards the crimes and as to 
Bender's whereabouts. A posse therefore seized him and after 
taking him to the woods, some eight miles distant, they placed 
a rope around his neck and told him to confess all that he 
knew or be hanged. 

He begged for mercy and swore that Bender had never 
made a confidant of him. The frenzied posse then hanged 
him to a tree, but when he was on the point of death, they 
let him down to the ground and after restoratives were ad- 
ministered, he finally regained his speech. Again he was or- 
dered to confess and again he swore that he was ignorant of 
Bender's doings. 

He was hanged again and this method of torture was 
repeated three times, but it availed the posse nothing, and 
they finally left Brockman lying on the ground in a semi- 
conscious condition, but he eventually recovered. 

Some time previous to the discovery that Bender's tavern 
was a human slaughter-house, the body of a man named Jones 
was found in Drum Creek. The back of the head was com- 
pletely crushed and almost severed from the body. The only 
clew obtainable was a wagon track through the snow, which 
led down to the creek near where the body was found. But 
there was a peculiaiity about this track because of the fact 
that one of the wheels was evidently considerable out of plumb, 
therefore, in revolving it made a zig-zag track through the 

352 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

snow. In view of the discoveries at Bender's tavern, an ex- 
periment was subsequently made with the wagon in which 
the family temporarily escaped, and it was found that their 
wagon left tracks similar to those found in the snow. 

This deviation from the usual method of disposing of the 
bodies" of the victims, was due to the fact that at the time of 
this murder the ground was frozen, thus making grave-digging 
slow work and hard to conceal. Upon arriving at the frozen 
creek, it became necessary to cut a hole in the ice and push 
the body underneath, in order to conceal it for the time being. 

There is no doubt but that the methods above described 
were tl^ose employed by these butchers, as two prospective 
victims unconsciously escaped from their clutches after all the 
preliminaries were arranged, and it was not until the expose 
that they realized their hair-breadth escape from being 
"planted" in "Old Man Bender's" orchard. 

Mr. Wetzell of Independence, Kansas, read Kate Ben- 
der's advertisement of her remarkable ability as a healer of 
the afflicted, and being constantly tortured with neuralgia in 
the face, he induced a friend named Gordan to accompany him 
to her home. Upon examining his face, Kate expressed con- 
fidence in her ability to effect a permanent cure, but as it was 
about dinner time she invited both men to dine first. She 
set the chairs for the guests so that their heads were in 
close proximity to the cloth partition, and eatables were 
then placed on the table. 

When they first arrived they observed that Old Bender 
and his son scrutinized them closely, but assuming that it was 
done merely through curiosity, they gave the incident no fur- 
ther thought at the time. 

When the visitors took their position at the table the 
father and son disappeared. For some reason, which Wet- 
zell and Gordan could not explain, they immediately arose 
from the table and stood at the counter to eat their meals. 

Up to this time Miss Bender was most affable toward her 
guests, but at this unexpected turn of affairs, she became 
caustic and almost abusive in her language toward them. 

The two male Benders then reappeared from behind the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 353 

partition, and after casting a glance at the two strangers, 
they repaired to the barn, a few rods from the house. The 
guests became suspicious at this sudden change of demeanor 
on the part of their hostess and immediately left the building 
and went out on the road. 

Providentially two wagons were being driven past at this 
moment, and Gordan and Wetzell jumped into their buggy 
and drove away ahead of them, but on reflection they con- 
cluded that perhaps they were unnecessarily alarmed and dis- 
missed the incident from their minds. 

As there has been much speculation as to the fate of 
the Bender family the following letters from the Chiefs of 
Police of Independence and Cherryvale, Kansas, to the author 
are published in part: 

"Cherryvale, Kansas, June 14, 1910. 

"Dear Sir: — Yours just received. It so happened that 
my father-in-law's farm joins the Bender farm and he helped 
to locate the bodies of the victims. I often tried to find out 
from him what became of the Benders, but he only gave me 
a knowing look and said he guessed they would not bother 
anyone else. 

"There was a vigilance committee organized to locate the 
Benders, and shortly afterward old man Bender's wagon was 
found by the roadside riddled with bullets. You will have to 
guess the rest. I am respectfully yours, 

(Box 11.) J. N. Kramer, 

"Chief of Police." 

"Independence, Kansas, June 14, 1910. 
"Dear Sir: — In regard to the Bender family I will say 
that I have lived here forty years, and it is my opinion that 
they never got away. 

"A vigilance committee was formed and some of them 
are still here, but they will not talk except to say that it would 
be useless to look for them, and they smile at the reports of 
some of the family having been recently located. 

"The family nearly got my father. He intended to stay 
there one night, but he became suspicious, and although they 
tried to coax him to stay he hitched up his team and left. 
"Regretting that I cannot give you more information, 
"I am yours respectfully, 

"D. M. Van Cleve, 

"Chief of Police." 

354 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


(From Kansas City Star, Times and Journal.) 

Thomas Hunton Swope, afterward known as Colonel 
Swope, was born in Kentucky in 1829. After accumulating a 
few thousand dollars in his native State, he proceeded to Kan- 
sas City, Mo., in 1860, where he invested a large portion of 
his savings in suburban lands which were practically worthless 
then but which subsequently enhanced in value until Swope 
became a multi-milHonaire. He conceived a plan of devoting 
to public benefactions a large part of his wealth and as a part 
of this philanthropic plan he gave to Kansas City a magnificent 
tract of territory embracing 1354 acres, which is now known 
as Swope Park, the second largest park in America. In his 
later years Swope became extremely eccentric and seldom ap- 
peared in public. He had two sisters and two brothers. One 
brother, Logan Swope, died in February, 1900, leaving a 
widow and seven children, named Chrisman, Frances, Thomas, 
Lucy, Margaret, Stella and Sarah. In 1909, Chrisman, the 
eldest, was 31 years of age, and Sarah, the youngest, was 14 
years of age. Mrs. Logan Swope resided with her family in 
a large mansion near Independence, Mo., which is a short dis- 
tance from Kansas City. Colonel Swope, who never married, 
and his cousin, J. Moss Hunton, resided in the same house. 

Colonel Swope's property was valued at $3,600,000 and 
he made a will which provided that Mrs. Logan Swope's chil- 
dren should each receive about $200,000, with the exception 
of Francis, who was to receive but $135,000. There was also 
a residuary fund amounting to $1,405,595 which was to be 
equally divided among these seven children, but Swope had 
about decided to change his will and leave the residuary to 
charity. The entire Swope family knew the contents of this 
will and also knew of Swope's determination to change it. 
The executors of this will were J. Moss Hunton, Attorney 
John Paxton and Steward Fleming, Colonel Swope's nephew. 

Bennett Clarke Hyde was born in Cowper County, Mis- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 255 

souri, in 1872, but spent his boyhood days in Lexington, Mo., 
where his father was a Baptist preacher. Young Hyde re- 
ceived a college education and afterward graduated from the 
University Medical College in Kansas City, Mo. In 1898-99 
Dr. Hyde was demonstrator of anatomy at this college and 
during this time several graves were robbed. Finally two 
negroes named Sam McClain and Charley Perry were arrested 
for robbing the grave of Michael Kelly at St. Mary's Ceme- 
tery in Independence, Mo. They subsequently confessed to 
this crime and several others of a similar nature, and swore 
that they sold the bodies to Dr. Hyde. The doctor was arrested 
but the case never came to trial and was dropped from the 
calendar on March 4, 1899. 

On May 4, 1905, Dr. Hyde was appointed police surgeon 
of Kansas City, but on September 10, 1907, he was suspended 
by Mayor Jones on a charge of cruelty to Mrs. Annie Clement, 
a negress who had attempted to commit suicide by morphine 
poisoning and to whom Hyde administered oil of mustard for 
the purpose of arousing her from her sleepy condition. 

On June 21, 1905, Dr. Hyde and Frances Swope were 
clandestinely married at Fayetteville, Ark. Mrs. Logan Swope 
was bitterly opposed to this marriage, as she stated that she 
felt certain that Hyde married Frances for money alone, and 
she furthermore stated that Hyde had made love to two other 
wealthy women and after obtaining $4,000 from one and $2,000 
from the other, he "threw them over." Following the public 
announcement of Dr. Hyde's marriage, Mrs. Sarah Frank, of 
Kansas City, a widow, brought suit against Hyde asking dam- 
ages for breach of promise, but the case was settled out of 

As a result of this marriage, Hyde and his wife's rela- 
tives were estranged for over a year, but in August, 1906, a 
reconciliation was effected and shortly afterward Colonel 
Swope paid $7,500 for a home at 3516 Forest avenue, Kansas 
City, and presented it to Hyde and his wife. 

On September 5, 1909, Colonel Swope, who was then 
81 years of age, fell to the floor in the Swope mansion and 
while he was not seriously injured, he imagined that he was 

356 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

about to die and insisted upon being put to bed. Dr. Hyde 
engaged a nurse named Pearl Keller to care for him. 

On the evening of October 1, 1909, Moss Hunton was eat- 
ing his dinner in the Swope home when he collapsed. Dr. 
George T. Twyman, the regular family physician, and Dr. 
Hyde, wete summoned and they diagnosed the case as apo- 
plexy. Dr. Hyde suggested that the patient be bled, to which 
Dr. Twyman acquiesced, Hyde then began to draw blood from 
the patient's arm. When one pint had been drawn Dr. Twy- 
man stated that that was sufficient, but Dr. Hyde continued un- 
til two quarts were drawn. Dr. Twyman again insisted that no 
more be drawn and called Dr. Hyde's attention to a recent case 
where a physician had bled a patient to death. Miss Keller, the 
nurse, and Mrs. Hyde were in the room at the time, and when 
Hyde continued to ignore Dr. Twyman's advice, Mrs. Hyde, 
according to the statements subsequently made by Dr. Twyman 
and Miss Kellar, said to her husband, "Dear, I believe I would 
quit. Dr. Twyman thinks you have bled him enough." Hyde 
then quit but almost immediately afterward Hunton gave a 
spasmodic gasp and died. 

About twenty minutes later. Dr. Hyde said to Miss Keller : 
"I want to have a private talk with you after a while." About 
an hour afterward Miss Keller saw Dr. Hyde alone in the sit- 
ting room and the doctor said: "Miss Keller, I am not a 
business man but I can be one. This man Hunton was one 
of the executors of the Swope estate and in a few days the 
old man will make a new will and appoint new executors, and 
I wish you would suggest that I take Hunton's place." Miss 
Keller replied that she was engaged to perform professional 
services only and that she could not interfere in private affairs. 

Although Colonel Swope insisted upon remaining in bed, 
he was feeling unusually well on the second day following the 
death of Hunton. Notwithstanding his favorable condition, 
Dr. Hyde gave Miss Keller a "digestive tablet" with instruc- 
tions to give it to her patient. After much persuasion the 
nurse finally induced the old man to swallow it and twenty 
minutes later he was seized with violent convulsions. During 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 357 

his conscious moments he said: "Oh, God, I wish I hadn't 
taken that damned medicine." 

Upon noting the sudden change in Swope's condition. 
Miss Keller called Dr. Hyde from another room and after mak- 
ing a hasty examination of the patient, he stated that Swope 
was also a victim of apoplexy, probably brought on by the 
shock of Hunton's death, but the nurse subsequently stated that 
the symptoms and Dr. Hyde's treatment of Swope and Hun- 
ton were entirely different. 

Although Dr. Twyman was Colonel Swope's regular 
physician and could easily have attended the patient. Dr. Hyde 
did not notify him of the changed condition of Swope. 

On the evening of October 3 Colonel Swope died, and 
shortly afterward Hyde called Miss Keller to one side and ad- 
vised her to charge $35 per week instead of $25, the regular 

Prior to October 1, 1909, Dr. Hyde drank the cistern water 
in the Swope home which was used by the entire family, but 
about this time he notified the Swopes that if they continued 
to use this water without boiling it they would have typhoid 

On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1909, Hyde and his 
wife dined at the Swope home, and they brought bottled water, 
which they only drank. 

Three days later Mrs. Swope went to Chicago, but was 
called home on December 5. 

Within two weeks after the Thanksgiving dinner the fol- 
lowing persons, who were either members of the Swope fam- 
ily, visitors or servants, were stricken with typhoid fever:. 

December 1 — Leonora Copridge, the colored servant 

December 2 — Chrisman and Margaret Swope, aged 31 and 
21, respectively, and Miss Georgie Compton, a seamstress. 

December 4 — Miss Nora Dickson, a visitor and former 
governess in the house. 

December 5 — Steward Fleming, a visiting relative. 

December 10 — Sarah Swope, aged 14 years. 

December 11 — Stella Swope, aged 16 years, and Mildred 

358 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Fox, a 14-year-old girl, residing in Kansas City, who had only 
spent one day at the Swope mansion and was taken ill in her 
own home. 

This epidemic resulted in four other nurses being called, 
namely: Misses Churchill, Gordan, Houlehan and Van Nuys. 

On December 5 Dr. Hyde told Miss Houlehan, the nurse, 
that he had just given Chrisman Swope a capsule and in- 
structed her to bathe him. While she was sponging the sick 
man he had a convulsion. Dr. Hyde was called and he de- 
clared that the patient was suffering from cerebral meningitis. 
He sank into a coma, but the next day he was evidently im- 
proving, until Dr. Hyde gave him another capsule, when he 
almost immediately became so restless that morphine was 
administered. A few moments later he died. Dr. Hyde then 
felt his pulse, and after throwing the dead man's feet around 
in a rough manner, said: "He's gone, prepare him for the 

The night his brother-in-law died, Dr. Hyde attended a 
banquet given in celebration of his election as president of the 
Jackson County Medical Society. 

Miss Lucy Swope left her home for a trip through Europe 
on September 26, 1909, and on the day her brother Chrisman 
died a cable was sent requesting her to return at once, without 
giving the true reason for the request. She was due to ar- 
rive in New York on December 15, and her mother desired 
that some lady friend go to New York for the purpose of 
breaking the news and to be her companion on the homeward 
trip. A friend named Miss Mary Hickman was selected, and 
Mrs. Swope gave her daughter, Mrs. Hyde, sufficient money 
to purchase a ticket for Miss Hickman, when Dr. Hyde, who 
had never shown any particular interest in Lucy up to this 
time, insisted upon going himself, and he went, against the 
wishes of Mrs. Swope. 

Hyde left Kansas City on December 13, but on the pre- 
ceding evening he went to Margaret Swope's room, which 
was in semi-darkness at the time. Margaret was Dr. Twyman's 
patient, and Dr. Hyde had never treated her up to this time. 
Without making any examination of the young lady's pulse 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 359 

or inquiring into her condition or even admitting enough light 
into the room to note her appearance, Hyde at once adminis- 
tered a hypodermic injection into her arm. This injection 
caused great pain and the arm was disabled for months after- 

Just as Hyde was leaving the room, Margaret's nurse, 
Miss Churchill, entered, and Hyde said: "I have just given 
Margaret an injection of camphorated oil, as I found that she 
had an intermittent pulse." Miss Churchill was much sur- 
prised at this unusual proceeding. She immediately felt Mar- 
garet's pulse, which she found to be perfectly regular, and 
she tried to detect the odor of the camphorated oil, alleged to 
have been injected, but failed. 

On December 15, Hyde met Lucy Swope in New York, 
and they left that night for Kansas City. At this time Lucy 
was in good health. On the second day of the trip she started 
to get a drink of water, but Hyde stopped her and said : "Wait 
a minute, I have a folding cup that Frances sent you. I will 
get the water in that." Lucy subsequently stated that it 
seemed to take Hyde a long time to get the water. During 
the trip Lucy told Hyde that she intended to take some pills, 
and Hyde tried to persuade her to take some powders he had, 
but she declined. 

When Miss Lucy reached her home she remained only a 
few hours, and did not drink any water in the Swope home. 
She then went to the home of Miss Elinor Minor, where she 
remained for two days, at the expiration of which time she 
became feverish and was taken home, A few days later Drs. 
Twyman and Sloan found that she was suffering from typhoid 

During Hyde's trip to New York the typhoid patients im- 
proved, especially Margaret, and when Hyde returned and 
visited this young lady on December 18, she was laughing and 
talking with Miss Houlehan, Hyde asked if Margaret was 
still taking the capsules, and upon receiving an affirmative 
answer, he examined the capsules, but the nurse did not ob- 
serve just what he did. Shortly after Hyde left the room Miss 
Houlehan gave Margaret a capsule, and a few moments later 

360 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Margfaret was seized with convulsions. Fortunately, Dr. Twy- 
man arrived on the scene at this time. Margaret vomited 
freely, and fortunately for the interests of justice the ejecta 
was placed in a bottle and saved. 

A few moments later the five nurses held a conference, at 
which they agreed that Dr. Hyde was responsible for the con- 
ditions in the Swope home, and they decided that either Hyde 
or they must leave that night. 

They then called upon Dr, Twyman, and after explaining 
their reasons for accusing Hyde they stated that either Hyde 
or they must leave at once. 

Dr. Twyman then sought Mrs. Swope and informed her 
of the nurses' accusations and their ultimatum. Mrs. Swope 
replied : "Oh, God, do you think so ; then it must be true. The 
burden has been on my heart and I tried to cast it off, but I 
can not do it." 

It was then decided that Dr. Twyman should leave word 
for Dr. Hyde to call at his (Twyman's) office in Independence 
that evening, and at 8 :30 p. m, Hyde left the Swope mansion 
for that purpose. When Hyde arrived at the office, Dr. Twy- 
man said : "Dr. Hyde, I have a very serious and delicate mat- 
ter to discuss with you, but my duty compels me to speak 
plainly. The fact is that the nurses believe that you are en- 
tirely responsible for the conditions in the Swope home, and 
they have decided that you or they must leave the house at 
once." Hyde replied: "Well, that's pretty bad. Tell me all 
they said." Dr. Twyman then repeated the substance of his 
conversation with the nurses. Hyde then threatened to sue 
the nurses for libel, but Dr. Twyman advised him to do noth- 
ing of the kind, but to leave the Swope home as quietly as 

Hyde acted on this advice, and returning to the Swope 
mansion he informed his wife of what had transpired, and 
at 11 o'clock that night Hyde and his wife left for their home 
in Kansas City. 

Although Dr. Twyman endeavored to convince the nurses 
that they were wrong in their conclusions, he gave instructions 
the next day to destroy all medicine in the Swope home, and 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 361 

in his testimony before the Grand Jury said: "I fully be- 
lieve that some one is responsible for the poisoning and ad- 
ministering of typhoid germs in the Swope home." 

On the same evening that Dr. Hyde was called to Dr. Twy- 
man's office, Tom Swope escorted his sister Lucy back to 
Elinor Minor's home, and was returning to his mother's home 
about 8:30 p. m.,when, within about two blocks of his mother's 
home, he observed another man about one block in front of 
him who was coming toward him. When the two men were 
about one block apart, the man coming from the direction of 
the Swope home crossed the street and when he drew near 
a street lamp he searched his pockets and then throwing some- 
thing to the ground he proceeded to stamp it into the snow. 
Swope continued to walk toward his home on the opposite 
side of the street from this man, and when the man drew 
nearer to the street lamp Swope saw it was Dr. Hyde, who 
was then en route to Dr. Twyman's office. Swope made no 
sign of recognition, but passed by on the opposite side of the 
street, evidently without being observed by Hyde. 

When the doctor passed out of sight, Swope, whose curios- 
ity was fully aroused, hastened to where his brother-in-law 
dropped the article, and found a piece of a capsule. Swope was 
formerly engaged in testing ores in Tonopah, Nevada, and 
having used the cyanide process he was familiar with the odor 
of the drug, and he concluded that this portion of a capsule 
had the odor of cyanide of potassium. He took the broken 
capsule home and Miss Van Nuys, the nurse, who had also 
used this drug in cleaning jewelry, agreed that the particle 
of the capsule smelled like cyanide. 

Attorney John Paxton was then communicated with by 
telephone, and he accompanied Tom Swope to the spot where 
the capsule was found, and they found several other particles 
of capsules. These were placed in an envelope and sealed, and 
three days later Mr. Paxton and Tom Swope took this en- 
velope and the bottle containing the ejecta from Margaret 
Swope's stomach, to the celebrated Professor Ludvig Hecktoen, 
of the Rush Medical College, Chicago. He turned the packages 
over to two men of international repute, Professor Haines, of 

362 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Rush Medical College, and Professor Vaughan, of the Univer- 
sity of Michigan. These men made an analysis and found 
unmistakable traces of cyanide in the stains on the envelope 
containing the pieces of capsules, and they found strychnine 
in the ejecta from Margaret Swope's stomach. 

When the typhoid epidemic in the Swope home became 
the talk of Kansas City, Dr. E. E. Stewart, of that city, re- 
called the fact that on November 10, Dr. Hyde had procured 
from him five tubes containing typhoid, diphtheria and other 
germs for the alleged purpose of taking up the study of 
bacteriology. His suspicions being aroused. Dr. Stewart pro- 
ceeded to Dr. Hyde's office while Hyde was making his trip to 
New York after Lucy Swope. Stewart found Miss Bessie 
Coughlin in charge of the office, and he told the young lady 
that his germs were dead and he desired to borrow Dr. Hyde's. 

A short time before this Hyde had told Dr. Stewart that 
he had done very little with the germs, but Stewart after- 
ward stated that when he examined the typhoid tube he found 
enough germs gone to inoculate the whole of Kansas City. 
He also discovered that the tube which was presumed to con- 
tain diphtheria germs had been opened, but through some mis- 
take it contained pus germs. 

It was afterward claimed that Hyde injected pus germs 
into Margaret Swope's arm, believing that they were diphtheria 

When Hyde returned from New York and learned that 
Dr. Stewart had obtained the germ tubes from Miss Coughlin, 
he reprimanded her, and on New Year's Day she was dis- 

Dr. Stewart and Dr. Frank Hall made a close examination 
of the Swope home, but could find no cause for the typhoid 

On September 3, 1909, Hyde purchased several five-grain 
capsules of cyanide of potassium from Hugo Brecklein, a Kan- 
sas City druggist, who stated positively that Hyde claimed he 
wanted to use them on some dogs which were bothering him, 
but Hyde stated that he did not say "dogs," but "bugs," re- 
ferring to cockroaches in his office. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 363 

On December 30, 1909, an autopsy was performed on 
the body of Chrisman Swope, and although Dr. Hyde's death 
certificate showed that he died from cerebral meningitis, the 
brain was found to be perfectly normal. 

Professors Vaughan and Haines found traces of strych- 
nine and cyanide in the liver, and while it was evident that 
Chrisman was suffering from typhoid at the time of his death, 
the disease had not reached such a stage as to make death 

On January 12, 1910, an autopsy was held on the body 
of Colonel Swope. In this case Dr. Hyde certified that death 
was due to cerebral hemorrhage, but the brain was found to 
be absolutely free from the blood clots which would accompany 
such a condition. From what Professor Hecktoen learned of 
the symptoms in the death of Colonel Swope, he testified be- 
fore the coroner that he believed death to be due to cyanide and 
strychnine poisoning. 

Professors Vaughan and Haines testified that they an- 
alyzed one-seventh of Colonel Swope's liver and found one- 
sixth of a grain of strychnine, indicating that the entire liver 
contained about one grain, or almost twice as much as was 
necessary for a fatal dose. Dr. Hyde refused to testify before 
the coroner. 

On December 29, while the investigation of the mysteries 
of the Swope mansion were in progress, Mrs. Hyde telephoned 
to Dr. Stewart, who supplied Hyde with the germs, to call on 
Dr. Hyde at his home. When he arrived Hyde claimed that 
he was also a victim of typhoid, and requested Dr. Stewart to 
draw some blood from his (Hyde's) ear, for the purpose of 
making a test. It was found that Hyde had the symptoms of 
typhoid, but it was Dr. Stewart's opinion that Hyde had been 
inoculated with dead bacteria, which would bring about 
the symptoms of a genuine case. Dr. Stewart stated that 
Hyde appeared to be anxious to have it generally believed 
that he was a victim of typhoid. 

During this alleged illness, Lenora Von Bocher acted as 
Hyde's nurse, and she subsequently testified that Hyde took 
her chart prepared during his "illness,", and although it was 

364 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

her personal property, he never returned it to her, notwith- 
standing the fact that she repeatedly requested him to do so. 

On January 10, 1910, John Paxton swore to a warrant 
charging Hyde with the murder of Colonel Swope. The doc- 
tor was arrested on the following day and released on $50,000 

On January 12, Mr. Paxton wrote a letter in which he 
charged that Hyde was guilty of three murders and numerous 
attempts to commit murder. This letter was subsequently pub- 
lished, and as a result Hyde sued Paxton for libel and de- 
manded $100,000 damages. 

On February 15, 1910, the Grand Jury began an investiga- 
tion of the mysteries of the Swope home, and on March 5 
the following indictments were found against Hyde: 

For carelessly bleeding Moss Hunton to death — charged 
with manslaughter. 

Charged with murder for poisoning Colonel Swope. 

Charged with murder for poisoning Chrisman Swope. 

For attempting to murder Margaret Swope, three indict- 
ments were found ; one for administering typhoid germs ; one 
for injecting pus germs, and one for administering strychnine. 

Seven other indictments were found, charging him with 
attempting to murder Lucy, Sarah and Stella Swope, Mildred 
Fox, Georgie Campton, Nora Dickson and Leonora Copridge. 

Hyde was again arrested and released on $100,000 bond. 

It was decided to try him for the murder of Colonel 
Swope, but as it was the theory of the prosecution that Hyde's 
motive was to eventually gain control of the Swope millions 
by killing the greater part of the family, the evidence re- 
garding all the cases was admitted. The trial began before 
Judge Ralph Latshaw in Kansas City on April 16, 1910. 

Mrs. Hyde, who was in a delicate condition at the time, 
remained loyal to her husband and refused to recognize her 
mother, brother and sisters. She expressed the belief that her 
husband was innocent, and it is claimed that she mortgaged 
property to defray the enormous expenses of the defense. She 
engaged Frank Walsh and four other attorneys and also sev- 
eral experts. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 365 

The prosecution was represented by District Attorney Vir- 
gil Conkling and four special prosecutors engaged by Mrs. 
Swope, who was firmly convinced of her son-in-law's guilt. 
Hyde pleaded not guilty. 

On April 19 Dr. G. W. Twyman, one of the most im- 
portant witnesses for the prosecution, died before his testimony 
could be obtained. 

At irregular intervals up to within a week of his death 
Colonel Swope took a tonic of iron, quinine and strychnine, 
which was recommended by Dr. Hyde and sold by Overton 
Gentry, an Independence druggist. It was shown, however, 
that this tonic contained such a small percentage of strychnine 
that it was absolutely harmless. 

Nearly fifty witnesses testified for the prosecution, and on 
April 27 the evidence against Hyde became so strong that 
Judge Latshaw ordered him into custody. 

On May 4 the prosecution rested and the defense began. 
In referring to the cause of Chrisman Swope's death, Dr. 
Froehling testified that meningitis might be present and no 
evidence of it seen even with a microscope. He further testi- 
fied that the appearance of Margaret Swope's arm was such 
that Dr. Hyde might have injected camphorated oil as he 

On cross-examination Attorney Reed asked : "When 
strychnine and cyanide are administered together, does not 
one tend to neutralize the other's effect?" 

Dr. Froehling replied that he could not answer that ques- 
tion. As several physicians testified for the prosecution to the 
effect that they had never used cyanide as a medicine, Dr. J. 
W. Allen testified for the defense that he frequently used 
cyanide for spasmodic coughs, but confessed that he never 
used five-grain capsules — the quantities which Hyde pur- 

Dr. W. M. Cross, although called as a witness for the 
defense, testified that he could find no cause for the typhoid 
epidemic in the Swope home. He also testified that it was pos- 
sible for embalming fluid and the ammonia naturally in the 
body to form hydrocyanic acid in sufficient quantities to show 

366 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

tests for cyanide, but Professor Paul Schweitzer testified in 
rebuttal that this acid could only be formed in the presence 
of red-hot heat, and Professor H. P. Cady testified that he had 
recently made an experiment and that the lowest tempera- 
ture that the tests would show hydrocyanic acid was 358 de- 
grees Fahrenheit. 

In examining some of the physicians the defense at- 
tempted to show that it was possible for flies to have carried 
the typhoid germs into the Swope home, but the prosecution 
called attention to the fact that the epidemic occurred in the 
winter, when flies are scarce. 

Professor E. E. Smith testified that it was possible that 
Professor Vaughan mistook cinchonadyne, an integral part of 
the quinine in Colonel Swope's tonic, for strychnine, but C. H. 
Briggs, a chemist in the employ of the firm which prepared 
this tonic, testified in rebuttal that the quinine used in this 
tonic contained less than one per cent, of cinchonadyne. 

On May 9 Mrs. Hyde testified that up to within two days 
of her brother Chrisman's death he took pills prepared by 
Charles Hatred Jordan, a Chilean yarb doctor, but it was not 
shown that any of this doctor's medicines contained anything 
of a harmful nature. 

In her testimony Mrs. Hyde contradicted the nurses. Dr. 
Twyman and nearly all the members of her own family. She 
testified that her mother requested Dr. Hyde to go to New 
York after Lucy, and furthermore swore that Tom Swope was 
at home when he claimed he saw Dr. Hyde stamp the cap- 
sules into the snow. She swore that she did not request her 
husband to stop bleeding Moss Hunton, as claimed by Dr. 
Twyman and Miss Keller, the nurse. 

On May 9 Dr. Hyde took the stand in his own behalf. 
He testified that the missing germs had been used by him 
in making tests, and claimed that he had been using cyanide 
for ten years to remove nitrate of silver stains from his fingers. 
He swore that the cyanide which he had recently purchased 
from Brecklein was used to kill cockroaches in his office. 

When turned over for cross-examination Hyde became al- 
most hopelessly tangled. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 367 

Although he claimed he had used cyanide for ten years 
he could not recall one place where he had procured it previous 
to the purchase of the five-grain capsules from Brecklein, who 
was produced as a witness by the State. 

He claimed that he purchased it in capsules because it 
would retain its strength better in that form. 

When asked if it would not have been more convenient 
to have it put in a small bottle with a glass stopper, instead 
of opening the small capsules when he sprinkled it around 
his office for the purpose of killing cockroaches, he replied 
that the first method suggested had not occurred to him. 

He furthermore admitted that he had not informed either 
Miss Coughlin, his clerk, or the janitor, of the fact that this 
poison had been sprinkled around the office. 

At the conclusion of Hyde's testimony the defense rested, 
and several witnesses were called in rebuttal. 

Margaret Swope testified that it was true that Chrisman 
asked for some of Dr. Jordan's medicine two days before his 
death, but Mrs. Hyde could not find it, and she said to Mar- 
garet: "I'll give him scMne asperin tablets. He'll never know 
the difference." 

Other members of the family then testified as to Tom 
Swope's movements on the night the capsules were found 
in the snow, and much additional evidence was produced tend- 
ing to show that he was not home, but was probably just where 
he claimed to have been when the capsules were smashed in 
the snow. 

Mrs. James Clinton testified that Tom stopped at her 
house to use her telephone while on his way home that 

No surrebuttal testimony was offered and the case was 
finally submitted to the jury on Friday, May 13, 1910. 

After deliberating for three days the defendant was found 
guilty as charged and sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Juror W. C. Crone's son Albert had recently been con- 
victed on circumstantial evidence for killing his sweetheart, 
Bertha Bowler, and Juror Crone held out for Hyde's ac- 

368 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

quittal until after sixty hours' deliberation, when he also voted 
for conviction. 

When the jury was discharged he said: "Hyde's own 
testimony finally convinced me of his guilt." 

On July 5, 1910, Hyde was sentenced to life imprisonment 
at hard labor, but an appeal to the Supreme Court was im- 
mediately filed. 


William Clarke Quantrill, afterward known as Charlie 
Quantrell and Charlie Hart, was born in Canal Dover, Ohio, 
on July 31, 1837. 

At the age of sixteen he became a school teacher and 
followed that vocation until March 30, 1860, when his school 
at Stanton, Kansas, closed. 

According to William E. Connelley's history of the Bor- 
der Wars, it was Mrs. Mary Quantrill, a sister-in-law of 
Charlie Quantrill, and not Barbara Freitchie, who waved the 
American flag in the faces of the Confederate soldiers when 
they passed through Frederick in September, 1862. 

Connelley stated that Quantrill was cruel, treacherous and 
ungrateful ; that while he was a school teacher he was leading 
a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde life, and was even then a mur- 
derer, cattle-thief and kidnaper of slaves. 

When his school closed, Quantrill moved to Lawrence, 
Kansas, where he soon became a member of a gang of border 
ruffians who committed all the crimes on the calendar. 

About December 15, 1860, Quantrill and three companions 
named Morrison, Lipsey and Dean, planned to rob the home 
of Morgan Walker, a prosperous farmer residing in Jackson 
County, Missouri. Quantrill notified Walker's son of the pro- 
posed raid, and the two men then made arrangements to con- 
ceal guards about the premises and Quantrill agreed to en- 
veigle his "accomplices" into a position where the guards could 
shoot them down. The looters arrived at the appointed time 





z wuKS MfORe ovcm 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 369 

and Quantrill entered the house, but sent his companions 
around to a side porch where the heavily armed neighbors 
were concealed behind a loom. They opened fire, killing Mor- 
rison instantly and wounding the other two, who escaped tem- 
porarily. Quantrill remained at Walker's house and the next 
day a negro located the wounded men in the woods and noti- 
fied Walker. Quantrill accompanied the posse and when they 
located Dean and Lipsey, Quantrill and the entire posse opened 
fire. Both fugitives were mortally wounded but Quantrill 
rushed up to them and fired several additional shots into their 
bodies. He gave the following reason for this treacherous act : 

"In 1855, my brother and I were traveling overland to 
California when a gang of thirty Kansas Jayhawkers attacked 
us, and after killing my brother and wounding me, they stole 
all we possessed. I learned their identity and swore that I 
would kill every member of the gang. Assuming the name 
of Charlie Hart and professing great admiration for the 
gang, I joined them and was received with open arms, as 
they did not recognize me. Whenever I had an opportunity 
to kill any of them without being suspected, I took ad- 
vantage of it. Eventually they were all dead but three, 
and that trio accompanied me on the Morgan Walker raid." 

Connelley states that this story is false throughout and 
was invented by Quantrill for the purpose of winning the 
friendship of certain Missourians who despised the so-called 

After this occurence it is said that the feeling against 
Quantrill in Lawrence was so bitter that he would have been 
lynched had he returned. 

Shortly after the Civil War began, Quantrill organized 
a band of Southern guerrillas, consisting of Cole Younger, 
Frank James, OH Shepherd, Bill Anderson, George Todd and 
others, the command finally having 450 members. 

Henry Washington Younger settled in Jackson County, 
Missouri, in 1825, and three years later he married Miss Bur- 
sheba Fristo, a very estimable young lady of Jackson County. 
Mr. Younger represented Jackson County for three successive 
terms in the Legislature and was subsequently elected County 

370 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Judge. Fourteen children were born to this couple, among 
them being Thomas Coleman, commonly called "Cole," who 
was born January 15, 1844; James, who was born on January 
15, 1848; John, in 1851, and Robert or "Bob," on December 
12, 1853. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Younger, Sr,, 
went to Kansas City to complain of the manner in which 
some of his property had been destroyed, and he charged the 
Kansas "Jayhawkers" with committing the depredations. 
After registering his complaint, he started to drive home, but 
had only proceeded a short distance from Kansas City when 
he was shot to death. 

It was known that the Younger family was in sympathy 
with the South, and as Cole was accused of being a spy in 
communication with Quantrill, a demand was made for his 
surrender, but he escaped and joined Quantrill's company. 

In October, 1862, Stephen Elkins, afterward a United 
States Senator, was arrested by Quantrill's men on a charge 
of being a Union spy, and was about to be killed when Cole 
Younger, who was formerly a pupil of Elkins', interceded in 
behalf of the prisoner and procured his release. 

In 1864, James Younger also joined the guerrillas, but 
was shortly afterward taken a prisoner and was not released 
until the conclusion of the war. 

Toward the close of the war Cole Younger came to the 
Pacific Coast, being in Seattle when the war ended. 

Frank James was born in Scott County, Kentucky, in 1845, 
his father being a Baptist preacher. Four years later his 
brother Jesse was born in Clay County, Missouri, and a few 
months afterward his father came to California, where he 
died. Seven years later the widow, from whom the boys prob- 
ably inherited their aggressive nature, married Dr. Reuben 

When the war broke out Frank joined Quantrill's com- 
pany, and in 1863 Jesse joined another company of guerrillas. 

Shortly after the war began, Colonel Jennison of the 
Federal Army lost control of his men, some of whom com- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coas. 

mitted so many outrages in Missouri that the Federal gov 
ment ordered Jennison out of the service. 

To wreak vengeance for the crimes committed by Jenn^ 
son's men, Quantrill's gang committed a series of deeds as 
brutal and inhuman as could have been conceived by savages, 
although they frequently displayed great bravery in open battle. 

On April 21, 1862, the Federal government declared this 
gang to be outlaws, and the Confederate government also dis- 
approved of many of their acts. 

Because of depredations alleged to have been committed 
by the Kansas Jayhawkers, Quantrill and his company, which 
then consisted of 448 men, rode into Lawrence, Kansas, at 
daybreak on the morning of August 21, 1863, and began to 
shoot down every male person in sight, most of whom were 
non-combatants. In referring to this massacre in the history 
of his life, Cole Younger, who participated in the raid, said : 

"It was a day of butchery. Bill Anderson, whose sister 
was arrested as a Confederate spy and was killed by the col- 
lapsing of the building in which she was confined, claimed he 
killed fourteen and the count was allowed. The death list 
that day is variously estimated at from 143 to 216, and the 
property loss by the firing of the town and the sacking of the 
bank, etc., at $1,500,000. No guerrillas were killed." 

According to Connelley's complete history of this raid, 
Younger's estimate is very conservative. 

After the raid at Lawrence, Quantrill gradually lost con- 
trol of his men and his company rapidly became demoralized. 
Many deserted him, and in the early part of 1864 he took the 
remnant of his company to Texas. While there two of his 
men killed two Confederate officers, but as these men claimed 
they acted under Quantrill's orders, General McCulloch placed 
Quantrill under arrest, although subsequently he escaped. 

Shortly after this he relinquished his command to George 
Todd and, assuming the name of Captain Clarke, he. Oil Shep- 
herd, Frank James and twenty others began operations in 

On February 28, 1865, they plundered the town of Hick- 

Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

mail, Kentucky, and killed several people, for which they were 
pursued by Federal troops and several guerrillas were killed. 

On May 10, 1865, Captain Edward Terrill and thirty 
Federal soldiers located Quantrill and several of his men in 
a barn near Bloomfield, Kentucky. They attempted to escape 
but Quantrill received a bullet wound near the spine, which 
partially paralyzed him, and two of his men were killed. Quan- 
trill was taken to Louisville, where he died twenty-seven days 

In the summer of 1866, after the war was ended, the Gov- 
ernor of Kansas made a requisition on the Governor of Mis- 
souri for those who participated in the Lawrence raid, as it 
was decided to institute criminal proceedings against them. 
Cole Younger, Frank James and several other guerrillas met, 
but after a discussion they decided not to surrender. 

Shortly after this, a series of the most atrocious crimes 
were committed. Banks were robbed in broad daylight, trains 
were wrecked, citizens offering the slightest resistance were 
shot down like dogs, and officers were brutally murdered while 
in the discharge of their duty. 

It was finally learned that a gang consisting of Jesse and 
Frank James, Cole, Bob, Jim and John Younger, Clell Miller, 
Charley Pitts, Oil and George Shepherd and several others 
who fought under Quantrill, were engaged in similar depreda- 
tions, but as the modus operandi was uniform in nearly all 
these events, the James gang was accused of committing many 
crimes of which they were innocent. Many books have been 
written and melodramas produced in which these criminals 
have been pictured as heroes, but most of their crimes were 
most cowardly and despicable. 

The Allen Pinkerton Detective Agency was employed to 
capture them, and from information obtained from Mr. Wil- 
liam Pinkerton and officials who investigated the movements 
of these bandits, the following is set forth as the criminal 
record of the James-Younger gang: 

On March 12, 1868, a man giving the name of Colbum 
called at the bank in Russelville, Kentucky, and asked for 
change for a $100 bill. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 373 

On the 20th inst., "Colburn" returned with a companion 
and found two employees of the bank, named Long and Bar- 
clay, in conversation with a farmer named T. H. Simmons. 
"Colburn," or more properly speaking, Cole Younger, drew 
a pistol and ordered the three men to surrender. After a 
narrow escape from being shot. Long escaped through a side 
door and gave the alarm, but the other two men complied 
with the order to remain still. 

Other members of the gang remained on their horses 
outside, and when Younger and his accomplice had gathered 
about $9,000 in currency and about $5,000 in gold and silver, 
the outside guard became alarmed at the approach of an 
armed posse and called to the robbers in the. bank, who hurried 
out with their loot and the gang rode away, several shots 
being fired after them. George and Oil Shepherd were iden- 
tified and the former was arrested, convicted and served three 
years. Oil Shepherd escaped into Jackson County, Missouri, 
where he was killed by a sheriff's posse, while attempting to 
escape. It was subsequently learned that the others of the 
gang participating in this raid were Jesse and Frank James 
and Jim Younger. 

On December 8, 1869, Cole Younger, Frank and Jesse 
James rode into the town of Gallatin, Missouri, and proceeded 
to the Daviess County Savings Bank. On entering they com- 
manded the cashier. Captain John W, Sheets, to open the 
vault, and upon his refusal to do so Jesse James shot him 
dead. They then gathered up the few hundred dollars in 
sight and escaped, but Jesse James' horse became unmanage- 
able and ran away as the bandit was about to mount, and he 
was forced to ride behind his brother until they met a man 
named Smoot, who was ordered to turn over his horse to 
Jesse. The horse which ran away from Jesse was afterward 
identified as his property. 

One day in January, 1865, John Younger, who was then 
a large, fine looking fourteen-year-old boy, went into Inde- 
pendence, Mo., for the purpose of having Cole's revolver re- 
paired. The boy became engaged in a quarrel with a young 
man named Gillcreas, and the latter struck the youth over the 

374 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

face with a piece of mackerel and otherwise abused Younger, 
until he drew his brother's pistol and instantly killed Gillcreas. 
The coroner's jury acquitted the boy, who shortly afterward 
left for Texas, where he secured employment in a store at 

On January 16, 1871, he was drinking in a saloon and 
offered to wager that he could shoot the pipe out of the mouth 
of a man named Russell, who was sitting on a chair. The 
bullet grazed the man's nose and he ran from the place. The 
next day Russell procured a warrant for Younger's arrest, 
and it was given to the Sheriff, Captain S. W. Nichols, for- 
merly of the Confederate Army, for service. 

The Sheriff, accompanied by John McMahon, proceeded 
to Younger's home, and served the warrant. Younger re- 
quested permission to finish his breakfast, which was granted, 
but the Sheriff, who remained on guard outside, observed his 
prisoner attempting to escape out the back way. A pistol 
duel followed during which the Sheriff was shot through the 
heart and McMahon was seriously injured. Younger escaped 
and returned to his brothers in Missouri. 

On June 3, 1871, the James and Younger brothers, ac- 
companied by Clell Miller, went into the town of Corydon, 
Iowa, for the purpose of robbing the County Treasurer of 
recently collected taxes. Jesse James entered the office and 
requested change for a $100 bill, but the clerk stated that 
the safe was locked and that no one but the Treasurer, who 
was out, was familiar with the combination. The clerk sug- 
gested, however, that the Obocock Bank, which had just 
opened that day, might accommodate him. Jesse withdrew and 
after a consultation with his associates it was decided to cele- 
brate the opening of the new bank by robbing it. 

The gang then proceeded to the bank, Jesse James enter- 
ing and asking for change for his $100 bill. While the clerk 
turned and opened the safe, two of the James gang entered, 
the remainder being stationed as guards outside, and when 
the clerk turned around he was looking into the muzzle of a 
pistol. He and the president of the bank were then ordered 
into a back room and about $15,000 was stolen. A colored 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 375 

preacher who entered the bank at this moment was also re- 
lieved of his savings. 

The robbers then mounted their horses and rode out of 
town, but they had only traveled a short distance when they 
saw a gathering of citizens who were assembled at a proposed 
school site — the Treasurer of the county being among them. 
The bandits masked their faces with handkerchiefs and, riding 
up to the gathering, one of the robbers advised them to return 
to town and start another new bank. 

In September, 1872, the Kansas City Fair was held, and 
on the 26th inst. an enormous crowd gathered to watch a 
racehorse called Ethan Allen perform. After the receipts 
of the day had been counted, Secretary Hall, of the associa- 
tion, according to custom, sent a trusted employee to deposit 
the money, about $10,000, with the First National Bank. The 
employee had hardly left the grounds when a gang of not 
more than five mounted men surrounded him, and pointing 
pistols at his head, relieved him of the box and dashed out 
of town. 

The James and Younger gang were at once accused of 
committing this crime, but they denied all knowledge of it, 
although Cole Younger admitted that he and his brother John 
were in Kansas City on the following day. It is the general 
belief of the authorities that the James gang were the robbers. 

In July, 1873. this gang received information that a large 
amount of money would be transferred on the Chicago, Rock 
Island & Pacific Railroad on the 21st inst. They therefore 
concealed their horses about two and one-half miles west of 
Adair Station, Iowa. Near this point was a bridge crossing 
Turkey Creek, and near this bridge the gang waited until 
nearly 9 p. m., when the train was due, and then removed a 
rail and awaited results. Engineer John Raflferty and Con- 
ductor William A. Smith were in charge of the train, and as 
it approached this spot the engineer could see that the rail 
had been removed and immediately set his brakes, but the 
train was wrecked, Rafferty being instantly killed and numer- 
ous passengers seriously injured. Among the passengers were 
L. and W. Slessinger and A. Goodman of San Francisco. 

yjt Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

The robbers then terrorized train hands and passengers 
alike by frequently firing shots, and they robbed every one in 
sight. But they had miscalculated in regard to the amount 
of money the express messenger had in his possession, as the 
entire proceeds did not exceed $3,000. 

On the next day this gang, consisting of seven men, 
stopped at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Stuckey in Ringold 
County for dinner, and from the description given there is 
little doubt but what it was the James- Younger gang — minus 
Cole Younger, who is said to have been opposed to taking 
human life except in self defense. The railroad company and 
Governor Carpenter offered a reward of $5,500 for the convic- 
tion of these fiends. 

At 4:30 p. m., January 31, 1874, the Little Rock express 
train was due at a station called Gadshill, in Missouri. Just 
a few moments previous to this time a gang of five masked 
men appeared, and after putting the station agent under guard, 
they set the switch, placed a signal in the middle of the track, 
and awaited the arrival of the train. The engineer, observ- 
ing the signal, brought his train to a standstill, and when the 
conductor came forward to ascertain the cause of this unusual 
and sudden stop, a pistol was pointed at his head and he was 
placed under guard with the engineer, fireman and express 
messenger. The robbers procured $10,000 from the Adams 
Express car, and money and jewelry valued at $3,400 from 
the passengers. One of the gang wrote the following note 
before the train arrived and left it in one of the cars: 

"The Most Daring Robbery on Record. 

"The southbound train on the Iron Mountain railroad was 
stopped here this evening by five heavily armed men and 

robbed of dollars. The robbers arrived at the 

station a few minutes before the arrival of the train, arrested 
the agent, and put him under guard, and then threw the 
train on the switch. 

"The robbers were all large men, none of them being un- 
der six feet tall. After robbing the train, they started in a 
southerly direction, all mounted on fine horses. 

"There's a H of an excitement in this part of the 

country. Ira A. Merrill." 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 377 

The Pinkerton Detective Agency began an investigation 
and among the detectives engaged on the case was Joseph W. 
Witcher, connected with the Chicago branch of the agency. 
On March 10, 1874, this brave man started alone to the home 
of the James brothers, but en route, he stopped at the little 
town of Liberty, in Clay County, which was full of people 
who, either from motives of policy or sympathy, befriended 
this gang at every opportunity. It is surmised that Witcher's 
actions aroused the suspicion of some of these people, and that 
the James brothers were not only notified of his presence, but 
also that the mysterious man had started in the direction of 
their home. At any rate, when he approached the James- 
Samuels home, he was intercepted by Jesse James and two 
other men, who interrogated him as to his business. The de- 
tective, who was roughly dressed, stated that he was a fugi- 
tive from justice, but the trio searched him, and finding a 
pistol in his possession, became convinced that he was a de- 
tective. They bound him and took him from Clay County 
across the river to a spot near Independence, in Jackson Coun- 
ty, and there killed him, leaving the body on the road. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Jesse James and Cole 
Younger were comrades in crime, the latter had no admira- 
tion for the former, and he claimed that James took Witcher 
to Independence, Younger's home, and murdered him there 
so that the Younger brothers would be accused of the crime. 

Among other detectives and officials working on the Gads- 
hill train robbery was Louis Lull, a former Captain of Police 
in Chicago, but at the time in the employ of Pinkerton's 
agency, and James Wright. These men received information 
that some of the Younger brothers were in the neighborhood 
of Montegaw Springs, Mo. At Osceola, Mo., an ex-deputy 
sherifT named Edward Daniels, joined the two men. When 
the trio reached the home of Theodore SniflFer on March 16, 
1874, Lull and Daniels stopped to make inquiry regarding 
the roads, but Wright continued on his journey. 

After obtaining the desired information, the two men 
proceeded along the road, but they did tiot go according to 
directions. By a singular coincidence, John and Jim Younger 

378 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

were in an adjoining room in Sniffer's house while the detect- 
ives were there and, suspecting the mission of the strangers, 
they followed on horseback. When they overtook the detect- 
ives, the Youngers stated their suspicions, and after a few 
words firing became general, with the result that John Younger 
and Daniels were almost instantly killed by gunshot wounds 
in the neck, and Lull was shot through the abdomen and 
died six weeks later, Jim Younger escaped. 

After the murder of these detectives, the indignation of 
the citizens in that part of the country against this gang 
knew no bounds, and they resolved to exterminate the outlaws 
at any cost. A watch was set on the James-Samuels home 
and it was finally reported that the two bandits were there. 
At midnight on January 25, 1875, a posse said to have been 
led by a neighboring farmer named Daniel Askew, surrounded 
the house, and set it on fire with the expectation of driving 
the two bandits out in the open. While the building was on 
fire, one of the posse threw an explosive through a window 
and the result was that James' mother, Mrs. Samuels, was 
seriously injured, and her eight-year-old son by her second 
husband was killed, but the James boys were not in the 
house at all. This unjustifiable act turned the tide of sympa- 
thy back to the outlaws, as no excuse could be found for the 
wanton slaughter of this innocent child. 

Two months afterward. General Jeff Jones, a member 
of the State Legislature from Callaway County, Missouri, in- 
troduced what was known as the Outlaw Amnesty Bill, which 
read in part as follows : 

"Whereas, by the 4th section of the 11th article of the 
Constitution of Missouri, all persons in the military service 
of the United States, or who acted under the authority thereof 
in this State, are relieved from all civil liability and all criminal 
punishment for all acts done by them since the 1st day of Jan- 
uary, A. D., 1861 ; and, 

"Whereas, By the 12th section of the said 11th article of 
said Constitution provision is made by which, under certain 
circumstances, may be seized, transported to, indicted, tried 
and punished in distant counties, any Confederate under ban 
of despotic displeasure, thereby contravening the Constitution 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 379 

of the United States and every principle of enlightened hu- 
manity; therefore be it 

"Resolved, By the House of Representatives, the Senate 
concurring therein, that the Governor of the State be, and 
he is hereby requested to issue his proclamation notifying 
Jesse W. James, Frank James, Coleman Younger, James 
Younger and others, that full and complete amnesty and par- 
don will be granted them for all acts charged or committed 
by them during the late Civil War, and inviting them peace- 
fully to return to their respective homes in this State and 
there quietly to remain, submitting themselves to such pro- 
ceedings as may be instituted against them by the courts for 
all offenses charged to have been committed since said war, 
promising and guaranteeing to each of them full protection 
and a fair trial therein, and that full protection shall be given 
them from the time of their entrance into the State and his 
notice thereof under said proclamation and invitation." 

This bill was approved by Attorney-General Hockaday 
and favorably reported by a majority of the committee on 
criminal jurisprudence, but while it was pending, Mr. Askew, 
the man who was suspected of having led the gang that 
burned the James-Samuels home, was shot and killed one 
night in front of his own home by two men. Suspicion nat- 
urally fell on the James brothers, but it was never proved 
who committed the crime. 

Evidence was then produced tending to show that it was 
quite possible that Askew did not participate in the attack 
on the James-Samuels home, and believing that another inno- 
cent person had fallen by the hand of the James brothers, the 
tide of sympathy which swept toward them, now as swiftly 
swept away, and the result was that the Amnesty Bill was 

In the early part of December, 1875, this gang learned 
that a large amount of money would be shipped on the Union 
Pacific Railroad on the 12th inst. It is the theory of many 
that they obtained this information through one Bud McDan- 
iels, who participated in the robbery. 

On December 12 this gang assembled at a little station 
called Muncie, which is about five miles from Kansas City, 
Kansas, and where the trains stop for water. The train ar- 

380 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

rived at this point at 5 p. m., just as it was growing dark. 
The masked bandits boarded it and adopted their usual meth- 
ods of intimidation. The messenger seeing that it would be 
folly to resist, opened the safe and $55,000 was obtained. 

When McDaniels received his share of the loot it turned 
his head and he proceeded to celebrate by indulging too 
freely in intoxicants while in Kansas City two days later. 
His drunken condition caused his arrest, and when searched 
over $1,000 was found in his possession. As he could not 
give a satisfactory account either as to where he obtained the 
money or of his movements on the day of the train robbery, 
an investigation was instituted and sufficient evidence was 
gathered to justify the authorities in charging him with being 
implicated in the robbery. While being taken to court he 
escaped from his guard, but after enjoying his liberty for a 
week, he was discovered by an officer and as the fugitive again 
attempted to escape he was shot dead. 

About 10 p. m., July 7, 1876, this gang, reinforced by 
one Hobbs Kerry and Bill Chadwell, a horse thief from Min- 
nesota, approached Henry Chateau, the watchman at Rocky 
Cut, near Otterville, on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, an 
after procuring his red lantern, they placed railroad ties on 
the track and waved the lantern as the train approached. 
The engineer saw the signal and applied the air brakes, but 
the locomotive ran into the ties before it came to a standstill. 
The masked bandits then began to yell like Indians and dis 
charged their pistols. 

J. B. Bushnell, the express messenger, realizing the mean 
ing of the commotion, mingled with the passengers before th^ 
bandits reached the Adams Express car and attempted to con 
ceal his identity, but the baggageman was threatened with 
death if he refused to point out the messenger. He lost no 
time in complying with the request, and the messenger lost 
no time in providing the desired keys, but as there was a' 
through safe to which he had no keys, the robbers broke it 
open with a sledge hammer and obtained $17,000 from the 
two safes. They then disappeared, but Kerry was subse 


Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 381 

quently captured and confessed that .he accompanied the 
James- Younger gang on this expedition. 

The next raid attempted by these bandits resulted in the 
extermination of most of its members. In the middle of 
August, 1876, they decided to raid the bank in Northfield, 

There are two theories as to why this bank was selected. 
One was that Chadwell, who hailed from Minnesota, sug- 
gested it, but Cole Younger claimed that this particular bank 
was selected because they had received information that Gen- 
eral Benjamin Butler and his son-in-law, Governor J. T. Ames 
of Mississippi, both of whom had incurred the displeasure of 
the Southerners during the war, were the principal stock- 

September 7 was the day set for the raid, and the gang 
consisted of Cole, Bob and Jim Younger, Jesse and Frank 
James, Bill Chadwell, Clell Miller and Charley Pitts. It was 
agreed that Jesse James, Bob Younger and Pitts should enter 
the bank; Miller and Cole Younger to remain on guard out- 
side, and the remainder of the gang to be stationed at a 
bridge a short distance away, and in case they were needed 
at the bank a pistol shot would be the signal. They had 
planned to wreck the telegraph office immediately after the 

When the three bandits entered the bank they found the 
cashier, Joseph Heywards, and Clerks A. E. Bunker and 
Frank Wilcox behind the counter. They ordered Heywards 
to open the safe, but he insisted that he could not do so be- 
cause of the time lock. Bunker then tried to grasp a revolver 
that lay near him, but Pitts observed the move and put the 
pistol in his own pocket. Bunker then escaped through a 
window, but was shot in the shoulder while so doing. The 
robbers gathered what money was in sight and as they were 
leaving the bank, Pitts shot Heywards through the head, kill- 
ing him instantly. 

While this scene occurred in the bank, a hardware mer- 
chant named J. S. Allen attempted to enter the bank on busi- 
ness, but was obstructed by Miller. Allen then realized what 

382 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

was afoot, and running up the street he cried : "Get your 
guns, boys ; they're robbing the bank." It was at this mo- 
ment that Pitts killed the cashier and Chadwell, Frank James 
and Bob Younger, hearing the shot, rode up to the bank from 
the bridge. 

In the meantime, Dr. H. M. Wheeler, Elias Stacy, J. Man- 
ning and two other citizens procured weapons and began fir- 
ing from windows at the bandits. The shooting now became 
general, with the result that Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell 
were instantly killed. Cole, Bob and Jim Younger were 
wounded, and Nicholas Gustafson, a non-combatant, was 

Realizing that they were being worsted, the James' and 
the Younger brothers and Pitts mounted their horses and fled. 
But as all of the Younger brothers were bleeding profusely 
they did not make rapid progress. 

They had failed to wreck the telegraph office, and as 
Chadwell, the only man in the gang who was familiar with 
the country, was dead, they were practically lost. The news 
was telegraphed to all neighboring towns and posses came 
from all directions. For days the hunted criminals had little 
opportunity to sleep or eat. It was raining most of the time 
and they suffered excrutiating pain from their wounds. 

At the expiration of a week it was decided that the 
James brothers should leave the Youngers and Pitts, and they 
crossed the Missouri River and escaped. 

On September 21, a Norwegian boy named Oscar Suborn 
saw the Younger brothers and Pitts approaching Madelia, 
Col,, and the alarm was immediately given. A posse headed 
by Captain W. W. Murphy, Colonel Vought and Sheriff Glis- 
pin started in pursuit and cornered the bandits in some brush 
in the river bottom. Six of the posse volunteered to go into 
the brush after the bandits, and as they drew near, firing be- 
tween the volunteers and the outlaws became general, with the 
result that Pitts was killed. Cole and Jim Younger fell from 
their wounds and Bob, believing the rest had been killed, called 
out, "They're all down but me. I surrender." On Pitts' body 
the revolver belonging to the Northfield bank was found. 


Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 383 

On November 9, 1876, the Younger brothers were placed 
on trial for the Northfield murders. As the law stood at that 
time, if the accused pleaded guilty to a murder charge, he 
escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to life imprison- 
ment as an inducement to save the county the expense of a 
trial. The three brothers took advantage of this and a few 
days afterward they began their sentence in Stillwater Prison, 
Minnesota. On September 16, 1889, Bob died from consump- 
tion, supposed to have been caused by the bullet which pierced 
his lung during his last fight at Madelia. 

Contrary to expectations, these men were model prison- 
ers, and when they had served twenty years, many influential 
persons became interested in their case, and as a result Cole 
and Jim were conditionally paroled on July 14, 1901, three of 
the conditions being that they should not leave the State of 
Minnesota, that they should give a full account of them- 
selves monthly, and should not exhibit themselves at any 
place where a charge was made for admission. 

Jim Younger never fully recovered from his wounds and 
after being released he became extremely melancholy and con- 
stantly remained in his room reading socialistic literature. He 
was stopping at the Hotel Reardon, located at Seventh and 
Minnesota streets, in St. Paul, and on Sunday afternoon, Octo- 
ber 19, 1901, he committed suicide by shooting himself in 
the head. 

When the James brothers left the Youngers after the 
Northfield raid, they went to Mexico, where they remained 
for some time, and then proceeded to Paso Robles Springs in 
California. They remained in seclusion until about 6 p. m. 
on October 7, 1879, when they and four others, all wearing 
masks, rode into the little village of Glendale, on the line of 
the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, about twenty miles 
from Kansas City, Mo. 

They went directly to the railroad station, and after plac- 
ing the three men at the station under arrest, they ordered the 
station man to display the signal for the train to stop. When 
the train arrived and came to a standstill, the engineer was 
covered with a revolver and the remainder of the gang pro- 

384 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ceeded to the express car. The messenger, William Grimes, 
realizing the cause of the stop, attempted to conceal the con- 
tents of the safe, some $35,000, but was caught in the act and 
badly beaten. After taking this money the bandits disap- 
peared. One Tucker Bassham was arrested in June, 1880, 
and charged with being implicated in this crime. He subse- 
quently made a confession, in which he implicated the James 
brothers. He was convicted and sent to prison for ten years. 

On the afternoon of September 3, 1880, Frank James and 
Jim Cummings held up the stage en route to Mammouth Cave 
in Kentucky. As the eight passengers were wealthy tourists, 
the holdup netted the robbers about $1,500 in money and jew- 
elry. After procuring the names of the victims, the bandits 
permitted them to proceed on their journey. 

On Friday evening, July 15, 1881, the Chicago, Rock 
Island & Pacific train left Kansas City, Mo., in charge of 
Conductor William Westfall. Shortly after passing the little 
town of Winston, two masked men crawled over the coal on 
the tender and ordered the engineer to stop the train, which 
he did. At the same time two of the bandits, who probably 
boarded the train at either Cameron or Winston, put on masks 
and without any provocation, deliberately killed Conductor 
Westfall because he attempted to escape. For the purpose of 
intimidating the passengers, several shots were fired, one of 
which struck a stonemason named McMillan, killing him in- 

A demand was then made on Charles Murray, the express 
messenger, for the keys of the safe, but as the loot fell far 
short of expectations, only $1,500 being taken, one of the 
bandits struck Murray over the head with a revolver, knocking 
him down. 

Investigations subsequently instituted showed that the 
James gang committed this crime, James' step-brother, young 
Samuels, being in the gang. 

On September 7, 1881, at 9 p. m., the Chicago & Alton] 
train was held up at a point called Blue Cut, near Independ- 
ence, Mo. The train usually slowed down at this point and] 
Engineer Foote, seeing obstructions on the track ahead, came] 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 385 

to a full stop. Just then he was surrounded by masked men, 
two of whom remained by the engine and the remainder pro- 
ceeded to the express car, where about $2,000 was obtained 
from Express Messenger Fox. The leader of this gang loudly 
proclaimed himself to be Jesse James., and afterward James 
told the Ford brothers that he led the gang. 

The magnitude of the numerous crimes committed by 
these ruffians and the impudence and audacity with which 
they were perpetrated, had by this time aroused the indigna- 
tion of the whole State of Missouri, and Governor Crittenden 
determined that the gang which had given his State so much 
unenviable notoriety, must be either captured or annihilated 
at any cost. After a consultation with the railroad and express 
officials, a reward of $30,000 was offered for the capture of 
these bandits, dead or alive. 

The feeling against these outlaws had become so intense 
that several members of the gang began to lose courage, and 
as a result a mysterious woman called on Governor Crittenden 
on February 16, 1882, and desired to know under what condi- 
tions an outlaw could surrender. She was informed that if 
either of the James brothers desired to surrender it would 
have to be unconditional, but if any minor member of the 
gang would surrender and faithfully assist the authorities in 
apprehending and punishing the leaders, his services would be 
amply rewarded. Three days later Dick Little of the gang 
surrendered to Sheriff Timberlake of Clay County and made a 
voluminous confession. 

During the preceding November, Jesse James and his 
wife and two children moved to a cottage at 1318 Lafayette 
street, St. Joseph, Mo., where they lived under the name of 
Howard, that being the name by which Cole Younger referred 
to James when speaking of the two bandits who escaped after 
the Northfield raid. 

A very young man named Robert Ford, alias Johnson, 
who enjoyed James' confidence, also resided in this house. 
This man entered into an agreement with Governor Crittenden 
and Sheriff Timberlake to rid the community of James, the 
reward, of course, being uppermost in his mind. 


386 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

On April 4, 1882, the Burgess murder trial was to beg^n 
in Platte City, and as the case was attracting a great deal of 
interest in that part of the country, James concluded that 
every one, especially peace officers, would be at the trial. He 
therefore decided that this would be a good day to rob the 
Platte City Bank. For the purpose of perfecting plans for 
the robbery Charley, a brother of Robert Ford, came to James' 
home on Sunday, March 26. The Ford brothers pretended 
to enter enthusiastically into the scheme. 

From this time until Monday, April 3, the Ford brothers 
remained as guests of James, who contemplated executing the 
robbery of the Platte City Bank on the following day. 

On the morning of the 3rd, the weather was so warm 
that a coat could not be comfortably worn, so James, who 
was doing chores about the house which necessitated frequent 
trips to the yard, decided to remove his pistols lest some passer- 
by should see them hanging to his belt. While thus unarmed, 
James picked up a duster, and mounting a chair, he proceeded 
to dust a picture on the wall. Robert Ford instantly took 
advantage of the opportunity and drawing his own revolver, 
shot the bandit twice in the back. James fell to the floor 
without uttering a word, and died within a few moments. 

The Ford brothers immediately surrendered to Marshal 
Craig, who charged them with murder. On April 17 they 
were arraigned, and pleading guilty to the charge, they were^ 
sentenced to be hanged on May 9, 1882, 

On April 18, Governor Crittenden granted the brothers 
aa unconditional pardon. Immediately after their release,] 
Sheriff Trigg placed Bob Ford under arrest on the charge of 
murdering a man named Wood Hite, whose body was foundl 
about a weeek previously in a well on the Ford farm. After] 
some delay Ford was tried on this charge, and on October 26, 
1882, the -jury returned a verdict of not guilty, after being out 
forty-one hours. 

Frank James, believing that he was dying from consump- 
tion and being out of funds, surrendered to Grovernor Critten- 
den on October 5, 1882, Indictments were found against him 
on three charges: 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 387 

First: For the murder of John McMillan, the stone- 
mason, who was shot and killed on the train near Winston. 

Second: For the murder of Conductor Westfall on the 
same night ; and 

Third: For murdering Captain John Sheets, the cashier 
of the Gallatin Bank, on December 7, 1869. 

As the murder at the Gallatin Bank appeared to be the 
strongest case, James was tried on that charge, but was ac- 
quitted, as these bandits habitually wore masks when making 
raids and therefore it was almost impossible to identify them, 
although the horse which ran away from one of the robbers 
was identified as Jesse James' property. As Governor Crit- 
tenden refused to surrender James to the Minnesota authori- 
ties, who were anxious to try him for the Northfield raid, the 
ex-bandit, then a physical wreck, was given his freedom. 

In September, 1875, James married a Miss Annie Ralston, 
the daughter of a highly respected and prosperous farmer liv- 
ing near Independence, Mo. After his release James pro- 
ceeded to his father-in-law's farm, where he eventually re- 
gained his health and has ever since led an exemplary life. 

The Ford brothers soon spent their reward in riotous liv- 
ing and Bob was forced to go on the stage in a blood-and- 
thunder drama. While "acting" he met a woman named Nellie 
Watterson, who afterward accompanied him to a mining camp 
in Colorado named South Creede, where they opened a dive. 
This resort was located in a tent opposite the Foretone Hotel. 

Deputy Sheriff Edward Kelly, formerly City Marshal of 
Batchelor, Col., objected to the manner in which the dive was 
conducted, but as Ford maintained a defiant attitude, the two 
men became deadly enemies. On February 17, 1892, they 
had a fight at the Creede Exchange, in which it is claimed that 
Kelly came out second best. 

At 3 :40 p. m., on June 8, 1892, Kelly approached Ford's 
saloon and, without warning, fired the contents of a shotgun 
into Ford, killing him instantly. Had the victim of this cow- 
ardly crime been any one but the much-despised Ford, sum- 
mary justice would probably have been meted out. Kelly was 
immediately arrested, turned over to Sheriff Gardner,. charged 

388 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

with murder and convicted. He was sentenced to life im- 
prisonment but was liberated in 1900. 

Shortly afterward he went to Oklahoma, where Police Offi- 
cer Joseph Burnett attempted to arrest him on January 13, 
1903. As Kelly attacked and was overpowering the officer, 
the latter drew his revolver and killed him. 

In later years the terms of Cole Younger's parole were 
modified so that he was permitted to travel about the country 
and deliver a prepared lecture, in which he observed that "the 
man who chooses the career of outlawry is either a natural 
fool or an innocent madman." 


(From Judge Buck's History of Indian Outbreaks.) 

By virtue of a treaty with two tribes of the Sioux (also 
known as Dakota) Indians on July 23, 1851, and with the 
remaining two tribes on August 5, of the same year, there 
was set apart for them by the American Government a tract 
of land in the Minnesota Valley about one hundred miles long 
by twenty miles in width. For this reservation the Indians 
agreed to sell to the Government all other lands in their pos- 
session in Iowa and Minnesota for the sum of $2,709,010, 

It was furthermore agreed that $275,000 should be paid 
to the Indians as soon as they settled upon the reservation 
and $30,000 additional to be used for the establishment of 
schools and the erection of mills, shops, etc. The balance 
was to remain in trust with the United States Government 
and 5 per cent, interest to be paid thereon annually to the 

On November 12, 1852, when the first payment was to 
be made, the Indians refused to accept the money, as they 
claimed that they did not fully understand the treaty when 
they signed it, and intimated that they had been made the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 389 

victims of sharp practice. While they eventually accepted the 
money, they continually expressed dissatisfaction with the 
manner in which they were treated. 

On March 8, 1857, a former Chief named Inkpaduta, who 
had been outlawed some years previously for killing another 
Chief named Tasagi, and a band of about twelve followers, 
were hunting near Spirit Lake, which is located on the bound- 
ary line of Iowa and Minnesota, when a dog belonging to 
a white man bit one of the band. The injured Indian killed 
the dog, whereupon the owner administered a beating to the 
Indian. As there were many white men present the Indian 
offered no violent resistance, but the entire band hastened to 
a nearby settlement, where they killed every white man, woman 
and child in sight, excepting three married ladies named 
Noble, Marble and Thatcher, and a Miss Gardner. These 
women were taken prisoners, and after being frightfully out- 
raged were compelled to carry the loot seized by the Indians. 
Mrs. Noble and Mrs. Thatcher finally became exhausted, and 
as they could proceed no further the Indians killed them. 
Mrs. Marble and Miss Gardner were subsequently released 
for a monetary consideration. 

On March 26, some of this gang went to Springfield, 
where they butchered seventeen people, including women and 

Colonel Alexander, in command of Fort Ridgley, was in- 
formed of these massacres and he dispatched a company of 
infantry to the scene of slaughter. As the Indians had long 
since disappeared and the soldiers were not properly equipped 
to pursue them further through the snow, they buried the 
dead and then returned to the fort. 

In 1861 there was, according to the census, 7,737 Indians 
on this reservation. Crops were very poor and it was said 
that some of the Indians died from starvation. It was fur- 
thermore claimed by the Indians that there was corruption in 
the Indian Department having the distribution of government 
annuities ; that the traders charged exorbitant prices ; that 
white men debauched their women, and that they had not 
been paid for their lands as provided by the treaty. 

390 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

In answer to this charge the Government officials claimed 
that the hostility arose out of the fact that the majority of 
the Indians were opposed to the efforts made to transform 
them from barbarians to civilized beings and to compel them 
to subsist by industry. 

Some of the Indians adopted the white man's customs and 
lived by the sweat of their brows, and as a reward for their 
good behavior the Government extended to them special privi- 
leges, which caused those who were too "proud" to work to 
become more dissatisfied than ever. 

In the summer of 1862 a great number of the white men 
living near the reservation left their homes to participate in 
the Civil War, ^nd as a consequence the Indians became more 
bold and defiant. 

On August 16, 1862, four Indians were on their way to 
hunt deer when they stopped at the home of Robinson Jones, 
near Acton, Meeker County, Minnesota, and demanded whis- 
ky, but were abruptly refused and ordered out of the house. 
They then proceeded to the home of Howard Baker, Jones* 
stepson. At this house, which was within view of Jones' 
home and one-quarter mile from it, were Mr. and Mrs. Baker 
and Mr. and Mrs. Webster. Seeing the Indians stop at his 
stepson's house, Jones and his wife followed. A quarrel en- 
sued between Jones and an Indian whom he accused of steal- 
ing a gun, during which Jones referred to the Indians as 
"black devils." The Indians then withdrew from the house 
about fifty feet, and while they were conferring Jones and his 
wife and Webster and Baker came out in the yard. Suddenly 
the Indians turned and opened fire, killing all four peopled 
The Indians then fled, and Mrs. Webster and Mrs. Baker, 
who were in the house at the time of the shooting, spread 
the alarm through the neighborhood. 

The four assassins ran to the home of a Mr. Eckland, 
where they stole two horses. Two Indians mounted each ani- 
mal, and they escaped to the reservation, where they related 
their experience. 

When Chief Little Crow was informed of what had trans- 
pired he sounded a general alarm and warned the Indians toj 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 391 

prepare for the trouble which he felt certain the whites would 
make for them. The Indians then decided to make the attack 
themselves. The next day they entered the store conducted 
by Andrew Myrick and demanded food. Myrick replied: 
"Go and eat grass," and for this reply he was shot and instantly 
killed. The Indians then got a handful of grass, and after 
stuffing it in the dead man's mouth, laughed and said : "Myrick 
is now eating grass himself." 

They then killed every man, woman and child they could 
catch with the exception of two young ladies named Mary 
Schwandt and Maltie Williams, who were frightfully outraged 
and taken prisoners, but were subsequently released to Gen- 
eral Sibley's expedition. 

At 5 o'clock on the morning of August 20, about twenty 
Indians rode up to a little settlement beside Lake Shetek, 
where fifteen families resided. Although these people had 
always treated the Indians kindly, they killed every man, 
woman and child who did not escape by crawling into the 
high grass in the fields. A Mrs. Alomina Hurd, whose hus- 
band was the first to fall, was permitted to leave the village 
with her two babies, provided she took the road the Indians 
designated. She lost her way and traveled for five days 
through the storm then raging with nothing to eat but a piece 
of decayed ham. 

The hero of the day was an eleven-year-old boy named 
Mertin Eastlick, who carried his fifteen-months-old brother 
Johnny on his back for fifty miles, but he died shortly after- 
ward from exposure, over-exertion and lack of nourishment. 
Mr. Eastlick had been killed and Mrs. Eastlick was lying help- 
less on the ground from a bullet wound. Her two little boys 
named Freddie and Frank, aged five and seven respectively, 
were with her. Two squaws saw them, and catching the 
children they beat them to death with bludgeons before the 
helpless mother's eyes. Many other children were only beaten 
until they became helpless and then left to die from hunger and 
exposure to the storm. 

Three days after the massacre a mail man drove by with 
a wagon and took Mrs. Eastlick with him. When they had 

392 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

traveled fifty miles they overtook little Mertin Eastlick, whom 
the mother had lost and had given up for dead, trudging 
along the road with his little brother still on his back. 

On August 19, another band of Indians attacked the little 
town of New Ulm, which is located on the Minnesota River. 
The citizens had been forewarned of their approach and they 
put up such a strong defense that the Indians were repulsed, 
but not before many people of both sexes were killed and five 
houses burned. 

The next day Chief Little Crow personally led 600 In- 
dians to the town, and although fourteen men were killed 
and the greater portion of the town burned, the Indians were 
finally forced to retreat. 

Little Crow and his men next attacked Fort Ridgley, but 
he lost about 100 men while only three soldiers were killed. 

While Little Crow and his men were engaged at New 
Ulm and Fort Ridgley, other members of the tribe were 
scouring the country and torturing and killing nearly every 
white person they met. A young woman named Mrs. Waltz, ^ 
enceinte, was seized and, in the presence of her young brother, 
who was also tortured but finally recovered, she was cut open 
and the child removed and nailed to a tree. This baby was 
afterward found in this position by the soldiers who were sent 
out to bury the dead. They also found the body of a little 
girl laid beside its mother's body. The child was killed by 
being pulled asunder by the legs. 

On August 26, arrangements were completed to capture 
the fiercest warriors of Little Crow's band by means of strat- J 
egy. The officials pretended to be ignorant of the identity of 
the leaders of the numerous outbreaks and they notified about 
300 of the most desperate men to report at the Government 
warehouse to receive their annuities. About fifty of these 
fellows, including Little Crow, were evidently suspicious, for 
they did not respond, but 234 reported on the following 
morning as requested. For obivous reasons they were never 
permitted to carry their weapons into the building where the 
annuities were paid, so their suspicions were not aroused on 
this morning when soldiers stationed outside took their 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 393 

weapons before they entered. It was arranged to get them 
all inside at once and then the signal was given to some 
soldiers concealed nearby, who took the Indians into custody 
without difficulty. For many days previous to this capture 
the Indians seized men, women and children, until they had 
270 prisoners. 

Simultaneous with the capture of the Indians, General 
Sibley gained such an advantageous position with his artil- 
lery that the Indians left in charge of the white prisoners 
were at his mercy, and when they were commanded to sur- 
render the captives they did so immediately. Many of the 
women prisoners had been subjected to most inhuman bar- 

On September 3, 1862, General Sibley and 2,000 soldiers 
were encamped at Wood Lake, Minnesota. On the morn- 
ing" of this day several wagons loaded with soldiers left the 
camp to go to the agency, and when they were about a mile 
away from the camp, twenty-five Indians who were con- 
cealed in the grass, jumped up and opened fire. The soldiers 
responded, and several on each side were killed. The firing 
attracted the attention of the soldiers in camp and also 
Little Crow and about 800 Indians who were in the woods 
nearby. The result was a general battle, which proved to 
be Little Crow's Waterloo. Nearly 300 Indians were taken 
prisoners, and as a result Little Crow was deposed as Chief. 

Shortly after these Indians were captured a Military 
Commission was appointed to investigate the various charges. 
The first person arraigned was O-ta-kle (man who kills 
many), a mulatto commonly known as Godfrey. The charges 
against him read as follows: 

"Charge, Murder. 

"Specification First: In this, that the said O-ta-kle, or 
Godfrey, did, at or near New Ulm, Minnesota, on or about 
the 19th day of August, 1862, join a war party of the Sioux 
tribe of Indians against the citizens of the United States, 
and did with his own hand murder seven white men, women 
and children, peaceful citizens of the United States. 

"Specification Second: In this, that the said O-ta-kle, 
or Godfrey, did at various times and places, between the 19th 

394 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

of August and the 28th of September, 1862, join and par- 
ticipate in the murder and massacres committed by the Sioux 
Indians on the Minnesota frontier. 

"By order of Col. H. H. Sibley, 

"Com. Mil, Expedition. 

"Witnesses: Mary Woodbury, David Faribault, Mary 
Swan, Bernard La Batle." 

He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, but 
he subsequently turned state's evidence, and in consideration 
of assistance rendered to the prosecution. President Lincoln 
commuted his sentence to ten years' imprisonment. 

Of the entire number convicted, thirty-eight were exe- 
cuted simultaneously on December 26, 1862, from a large 
square scaffold constructed in Mankato, Minn., by the father 
of John and George Sontag, who with Chris Evans, became 
notorious as desperadoes in California. 

The Indians who were convicted but escaped the death 
penalty were imprisoned at the Military Prison at Daven- 
port, Iowa, but all were liberated in 1866. 

Former Chief Little Crow, who was accused of being the 
principal instigator of the war on the whites, was picking 
strawberries with his sixteen-year-old son near Scattered 
Lake on July 3, 1863, when he was recognized by a man 
named Nathan Lampson, ,who immediately fired upon the 
former Chief, inflicting a wound in the chest from which he 
died a few minutes later. 









Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 395 


(From Captain Schaack's History of the Case.) 

The first symptoms of an anarchistic movement in the 
United States appeared in 1878, at which time the leaders 
openly advocated the destruction of all forms of society, re- 
ligion and government. 

On Thanksgiving Day, 1884, they paraded in Chicago, 
and for the first time in America, exhibited their black flag. 
At this time, A. R. Parsons, the editor of a sheet called the 
"Alarm," Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe and August Spies, the 
editor of the "Arbeitzer Zeitung," were the recognized leaders 
in Chicago. 

Spies hated the police because Officer Tamillo had found it 
necessary to kill his brother, a young tough, who was raising 
a disturbance at a picnic. 

While Parsons was cautious as to the manner in which he 
expressed himself in the "Alarm," he threw caution to the 
winds while addressing a mob, when he believed none of the 
authorities were present. 

On the evening of January 12, 1885, a secret meeting was 
held at Mueller's Hall, at Sedgwick street and North avenue, 
during which Officer M. Hoffman was present in disguise. 
Parsons opened the meeting, but before addressing the as- 
sembly, he asked his brethern to scrutinize those present and 
if they saw any enemy in the hall, to strangle him and throw 
him out the window. 

After becoming satisfied that he was addressing none but 
anarchists, he discussed the merits of a new invention which 
he exhibited and stated that they were for the purpose of burn- 
ing buildings. 

He called them "little darlings," and informed his hearers 

396 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

that instructions as to their use would be cheerfully given at 
107 Fifth avenue, where the office of their leading paper, the 
"Alarm," was located. 

On February 16, 1886, differences arose between the Mc- 
Cormick Harvester Co. and their employees, and the anarchists, 
through one Louis Lingg, endeavored in every conceivable 
manner to convince the employees that the only way they could 
accomplish their object would be by the use of violence. On 
March 2, 1886, Parsons, Spies and Michael Schwab, an as- 
sistant editor under Spies, called a mass meeting, and their 
incendiary speeches caused E. E. Sanderson, representing the 
strikers, to denounce the proceeding as being injurious to 
their cause. 

On May 3, the anarchists made an attack on McCormick's 
place for the purpose of bringing about a conflict between the 
police and the strikers, believing that it would then be easier 
to persuade the latter to become anarchists. After a terrific 
battle, the police repulsed this mob. Editor Spies also tried 
to persuade the strikers to commit acts of violence, but not 
meeting with success, he, Parsons, Feilden, Neebe, George 
Engel, who conducted the paper called the "Anarchist," and 
an employee of his named Adolph Fischer, arranged for a 
secret conference at Greif's Hall, No. 54 West Lake street, on 
the evening following the day of this battle. 

One Gottfried Waller presided at this meeting and he 
subsequently informed the authorities of all that transpired on 
that occasion. At this meeting it was decided that the German 
word "Ruhe," meaning "peace," would be the signal to sum- 
mon their brethern to action. 

On the next day, May 4, 1886, the signal word "Ruhe" 
appeared in the anarchists' papers, and a circular was printed 
which read as follows: 


"Great Mass Meeting to-night at 7 :30 o'clock, at the Hay- 
market, Randolph street, between Desplaines and Halsted. 

"Good speakers will be present to denounce the lastest 
atrocious act of the police, the shooting of our fellow workmen 
yesterday afternoon." 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 397 

"Haymarket square" is a continuation of Randolph street. 
It is paved and about two hundred feet wide for a distance of 
two blocks. It was given this name by reason of the fact that 
in years gone by farmers congregated at this point to sell 
their hay, etc. 

Anticipating trouble, one hundred and seventy-six police 
officers were assigned to this place under command of In- 
spector John Bonfield, Capt. Wm. Ward and Lieut, (later 
Chief) G. W. Hubbard, but they were instructed not to inter- 
fere unless inflammatory language was used or some unlawful 
act committed. 

At 8 p. m. a crowd of 3000 people had assembled. 

Spies mounted a wagon and urged workingmen to arm 
themselves for defense if they wished to cope with the "Gov- 
ernment hirelings." 

Parsons then made a speech, during which Mayor Har- 
rison mingled with the crowd of listeners, and after referring 
to Parsons' speech as harmless he left the scene. 

Fielden then took the stand (or wagon) and he began by 
advising his followers to "Kill the law, exterminate the capi- 
talists, and do it to-night." 

As the crowd was becoming excited. Inspector Bonfield 
decided that the time for action had arrived. He marched his 
men up to the gathering and as Fielden saw them approaching, 
he cried: "Here come the bloodhounds. You do your duty 
and I'll do mine." 

Captain Ward then ordered the gathering to disperse. 

At this moment Fielden jumped from the wagon and 
when he reached the sidewalk he cried out so all could hear 
him : "We are 'peaceable.' " 

The word "Ruhe" (peace) was to be the signal for action 
and the instant Fielden made this remark, a bomb, lighted and 
hissing like a skyrocket, was hurled in the midst of the police. 
The explosion, which immediately followed, could be heard for 

This was instantly followed by hundreds of pistol shots, 
both from the police and anarchists. 

39^ Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Officers and rioters were falling in all directions, but by a 
magnificent display of bravery, the officers remaining on their 
feet rallied, and in the face of the heavy fire, they swept all 
before them. The dead and dying were then conveyed to the 
Desplaines Street station. As the anarchists who escaped un- 
injured returned and removed many of the bodies of their 
fallen comrades and escorted the wounded to their homes, the 
total number of those killed or wounded during the riot was 
never learned, but the following officers were killed: M. J. 
Degan, M. Sheehan, George Muller, John Barrett, Thomas 
Redden, Timothy Flavin, Nels Hansen and Timothy Sullivan. 
In addition to this, sixty-eight officers were wounded, many 
becoming cripples for life. 

As it was evident that the throwing of this bomb was not 
the work of one crank, but the result of a deep-laid conspiracy, 
the officers bent their energies to apprehend and procure legal 
evidence against the chief conspirators. 

As the office of the "Arbeitzer Zeitung" was the head- 
quarters of the leaders of the organization, a raid was made 
on the place on the following morning and manuscript was 
found which subsequently proved valuable to the authorities. 
Among others arrested at this place was Adolph Fischer. 

When arrested, this man had a revolver and a dagger 
made out of a file in his possession. 

An examination showed that the dagger had been dipped 
in a deadly poison. 

August Spies, Chris. Spies, Michael Schwab, Oscar Neebe 
and Samuel Fielden were arrested on May 5. Rudolph 
Schnaubelt, who was a close friend of those already arrested, 
was taken into custody on May 6, but unfortunately was re- 
leased almost immediately afterward. (The seriousness of 
this mistake on the part of the officials will appear later.) 

A search was made for Parsons but he escaped, although 
he subsequently surrendered under the most sensational cir- 

As there seemed to be considerable dissension in the de- 
tective office, little progress was made toward making a case 
against the prisoners until Capt. M. Schaack informed Chief 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 399 

Ebersold that he had valuable information, and asked for and 
obtained permission to handle the case. 

The captain then detailed six of his best detectives, noted 
for their bravery, ability and integrity, to assist him. (Among 
them was Hermann F. Schuettler, now assistant superintendent 
of police, who has acquired a national reputation because of 
the great ability he displayed in handling the Cronin, Luetgert, 
Car Bam and numerous other famous murder cases, and who 
is now justly regarded as one of the most capable and con- 
scientious police officials in America.) 

A few days afterward, the officers located a bomb factory 
at 442 Sedgwick street, the residence of an anarchist named 
Wm. Seliger, a carpenter by trade. He was placed under 
arrest and subsequently admitted that Louis Lingg lived there 
and made the bombs. 

On May 12, John Thielen, a carpenter, residing at 509 
North Halsted street, was arrested, and after a severe cross- 
examination, admitted that he assisted Lingg and Seliger to 
make twenty-two bombs on Sunday, May 2. He claimed that 
Lingg volunteered to make bombs for anybody who would 
throw them, and on the evening of the riot, Lingg, according 
to Thielen's confession, carried a satchelful of bombs to 58 
Clybourn avenue, and told the anarchists there assembled to 
help themselves. 

Thielen also stated that he attended the meeting on May 3, 
when George Engel instructed those present as to the plans for 
the following evening. 

It was presumed that the circular would cause the police 
to hold a large reserve force of officers at the different stations 
in the suburbs, and details of anarchists armed with bombs, 
were instructed to remain near the different stations, until 
they saw an illumination near the Haymarket, to be caused 
by burning a building immediately after the bomb was thrown. 

They were then to blow up the stations. As the reserve 
forces at several of these stations consisted of from fifty to 
one hundred and twenty men, it can be imagined what would 
have happened if this plan had not miscarried. 

400 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

The anarchists had so much faith in their bombs that 
they figured there would be no officers left at the Haymarket 
after they finished their work, and that they would have ample 
opportunity to start a conflagration. But when the brave 
officers rallied and charged them, they scattered in all directions 
and their desire to illuminate the heavens was immediately 
overcome by a greater desire to save their heads from the 
officers' batons. 

Mrs. Seliger, at whose home the bombs were made, stated 
that she had an idea of the fiendish work Lingg had on hand, 
and she got down on her knees and begged her husband to 
accompany him that night and to prevent him from committing 
any depredation. 

Seliger promised his wife that he would do her bidding 
and then kissed her good-by. 

Lingg was with the gang detailed to destroy one of the 
police stations, and Seliger remained by his side constantly. 
Lingg requested him to keep his cigar lighted so that he could 
ignite his fuse at a second's notice. 

Suddenly the patrol wagon loaded with officers dashed out 
of the station, en route to the Haymarket. Lingg asked for 
the lighted cigar, but the light had gone out and Seliger pre- 
tended to be searching his pockets for matches until the 
patrol wagon had passed. Lingg became furious when he saw 
the wagon load of officers disappear down the street. 

On May 14, Detective Schuettler traced Lingg to the 
home of Gustave Klein, at 80 Ambrose street. 

Lingg was as ferocious as a tiger, as cunning as a fox and 
as strong as a lion. 

Mr. Schuettler, who is a man of magnificent physique, 
and noted for his bravery, burst in the door, whereupon Lingg 
sprang at him and fought like a demon. He attempted to 
shoot the officer but was finally overpowered and taken to jail. 
Among Lingg's effects was a letter from his mother, informing 
him that he was her illegitimate son. 

On May 18, Ernst Hubner, a carpenter, residing at 11 
Mohawk street, was arrested, and he subsequently confessed 
that he assisted Lingg to make bombs on May 4. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 401 

Hubner also substantiated the statement made by Thielen 
regarding the instructions given by Engel on May 3. 

On May 19, Engel, who then conducted a toy store at 286 
Milwaukee avenue, was arrested, but he denied all the accusa- 
tions made against him. 

On May 20, Gottfried Waller, who acted as chairman of 
the meeting on May 3, was arrested and on May 24 he was 
brought before Engel and corroborated the statements previ- 
ously made by Hubner and Thielen regarding Engel's instruc- 

On May 20, Otto Lehman, a carpenter, was arrested, and 
he admitted that he attended the meeting on May 3 and heard 
Lingg and Schwab advise those present to arm themselves 
and seek revenge on the police on the following evening. He 
also stated that Fischer agreed to have the circulars printed 
.announcing the Haymarket meeting. 

A great num.ber of well-known anarchists were then ar- 
rested and in nearly every instance they told the police all they 
knew to save themselves. 

A young man named Chas. Brown called upon Captain 
Schaack and stated that he was in sympathy with some of the 
teachings of the anarchists, but that he was bitterly opposed 
to violence. 

As he attended the meetings, he was well posted and 
volunteered to assist the authorities. His offer was promptly 
accepted, but in the latter part of July, 1887, he suddenly 

Captain Schaack claimed that a young woman, who was 
in sympathy with the anarchists, entered into a conspiracy 
with them to drown the informer. 

It was agreed that she would ask Brown to take her 
boat riding in Cedar Lake, just over the State line in Indiana. 
It was arranged that she should tip the boat over and that a 
party of anarchists, which would be close at hand in a boat, 
would rescue her but let the informer sink. Brown consented 
to take the ride, but when the woman tipped the boat over 
the rescuing party was too far away, and they both drowned. 
On August 3, Coroner Van De Walker of Lake County, Ind., 

402 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

informed the Chicago authorities that he had recovered both 

The identity of the anarchists who followed this couple 
in another boat was never learned by the authorities. 

The Haymarket case was presented to the Grand Jury, 
and on May 28 fifteen indictments were returned for murder, 
conspiracy and riot against Spies, Parsons, Fischer, Engel, 
Lingg, Fielden, Schwab, Neebe and Schnaubelt. 

Evidence was produced which proved that the latter, who 
had been taken into custody and released, was the man who 
threw the bomb at the Haymarket. 

After being liberated Schnaubelt disappeared, and it was 
claimed that he subsequently died in Germany, but Theodore 
Kytka, who was employed as a handwriting expert in the 
Haymarket case, and who knew Schnaubelt well, informed the 
author that he saw the fugitive in Arizona in 1899, but before 
he could locate an officer Schnaubelt disappeared. His sister 
resided in San -Rafael, Cal., until recently and she stated that 
her brother died from consumption in Arizona in 1901. 

Parsons, who had been working as a carpenter and 
painter in Wisconsin after he fled from Chicago, received in- 
formation that the police had no evidence against the con- 
spirators, so he decided to create a sensation. On June 21, he 
returned to Chicago, and while Judge Gary was considering 
a motion for separate trials. Parsons suddenly appeared in the 
courtroom and took a seat among the defendants. 

At the trial, the original manuscript of the circular calling 
for the Haymarket meeting was introduced and proven to be 
in Spies' handwriting. 

A grocer named M. M. Thompson, who conducted a store 
at 108 South Desplaines street, testified that just before the 
bomb was thrown he heard Spies say: "Is one enough?" 

The latter then disappeared but returned presently and 
secretly handed something to Schnaubelt, who placed it in his 
pocket and then sat on the wagon from which the speakers 
addressed the gathering. 

Harry Gilmer, a painter, residing at 50 North Ann street, 



Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 403 

testified that he saw Schnaubelt throw the bomb and that 
Spies Hghted it. 

The particles of the shell of the bomb removed from 
bodies of the officers were found to be similar to the shells of 
the bombs made by Lingg, which were about the size of a 

On August 19, 1886, the case was submitted to the jurors, 
and on the following day they returned a verdict of guilty 
against the defendants, Spies, Schwab, Fielden, Parsons, 
Fischer, Engel and Lingg, and fixed the penalty at death. 
Neebe's punishment was fixed at imprisonment in the peni- 
tentiary for fifteen years. 

A motion for a new trial was entered on the grounds 
that some of the jurors were prejudiced and on the further 
grounds of newly discovered evidence. The motion was de- 
nied on October 7. 

Before passing sentence, the court asked the defendants 
if they had anything to say, whereupon all of the defendants 
made long speeches in which they expressed their contempt 
for the law. 

Lingg was the most vicious in his expressions, and among 
other things said: "Perhaps you think 'you'll throw no more 
bombs,' but let me assure you that I die happy on the gallows, 
so confident am I that the thousands to whom I have spoken 
will remember my words ; and when you shall have hanged 
us, then mark my words, they will do the bomb throwing." 

The cases were then appealed to the State Supreme Court 
and on September 14, 1887, Justice Benjamin Magruder 
lianded down a decision, in which all of his associates con- 
curred, sustaining the findings of the lower court. The con- 
ciemned men's followers then engaged Gen. Ben Butler as 
attorney, and on October 27, 1887, the case was brought before 
the United States Supreme Court, the contention being that 
the Illinois Jury law was in contravention of the Fourteenth 
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This 
court refused to interfere. 

Appeals were then made to Governor Oglesby for execu- 
tive clemency, especially in the cases of Schwab and Fielden. 

404 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

It was claimed that the former was not present at the meeting 
and that there was no proof that he knew that violence would 
be resorted to. Regarding Fielden, it was argued that he 
became intoxicated with the applause of his audience, and did 
not realize the effect his words had on his hearers. 

On November 6, while the Governor had these appeals 
under consideration, the authorities decided to search Cook 
County jail. A starch box was lying on the floor and one of 
the deputies, named O. E. Hogan, put the box on a platform 
for the moment and shortly afterward kicked it off and it fell 
on the floor and broke. 

It was then discovered that it contained a false bottom, 
similar to that found in Lingg's trunk, and four dynamite 
bombs were concealed there. These instruments of destruction 
were made out of pieces of ^-inch gaspipe and were about 
six inches long. 

On November 10, at 8:45 a. m., a loud explosion was 
heard in Lingg's cell. The officials found that the desperate j 
man had gained possession of a dynamite bomb, which h^ 
placed in his mouth and lighted it with a candle which wj 
flickering in a corner of his cell. Although most of his fac 
had been blown away he lived until 2 :45 p, m. that day. I^ 
is the general opinion that Lingg's sweetheart smuggled the 
bomb into his cell. 

On the day of Lingg's suicide. Governor Oglesby com-^ 
muted the sentence of Fielden and Schwab to life im^ 

On November 11, Spies, Parsons, Fischer and Engel were 
hanged. They remained defiant to the last. 

During the trial of these anarchists, a beautiful younj 
woman named Miss Nina Van Zandt made the acquaintance 
of Spies, and finally she publicly announced that she loved thej 

The woman attended each session of the court, and whei 
she became conscious of the notoriety she had achieved, she 
concluded that it was a good opportunity, not only to exhibit 
herself but her extensive wardrobe. 

She expressed a desire to marry Spies, and the prisonerl 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 405 

believing that he might gain sympathy if he could point to 
this beautiful woman as his wife, consented to have the cere- 
mony performed, but the authorities objected. 

It was then decided that a proxy marriage should be 
performed between the young woman and Chris. Spies, the 
brother of the prisoner. A justice was found who performed 
the ceremony on January 29, 1887, but the marriage was gen- 
erally regarded as illegal. 

When Spies' body was taken to his home, Miss Van Zandt, 
dressed in deep mourning, was there to receive it. 

The funeral services were set for Sunday, November 13, 
and the anarchists intended to carry a red flag at the head of 
their procession, but the permit was denied. The coffins of 
Engel and Lingg were draped with red flags. 

A Civil War veteran, named Howell Trogden, preceded 
the procession, carrying an American flag, greatly to the cha- 
grin of the anarchists, none of whom dared to interfere with 

In December, 1888, the citizens of Chicago contributed 
$10,000.00, which was used to erect a monument where the 
brave efficers fell at the Haymarket. On top of the pedestal 
was the figure of a police officer in full uniform with his right 
hand uplifted. 

This monument was subsequently removed to another part 
of the city. 

On June 26, 1893, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab were par- 
doned by Governor Altgeld. 

4o6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 



(From Chicago Police Records and Hunt's "Crime of the 


The United Brotherhood or "Clan-na-gael" was an or- 
ganization composed of Irishmen who were in sympathy with 
the movement to free Ireland from its dependence upon the 
British Government. 

It was organized in 1869 and with a few exceptions its 
great membership consisted of men who affiliated with the 
order from motives of the purest patriotism. 

Subordinate lodges or camps were instituted throughout 
the United States, but the order was particularly strong in 

The affairs of the organization were handled by an execu- 
tive committee which, at a national convention held in Chicago 
in 1881, was reduced to five members. 

On that executive board were Alexander Sullivan, a prom- 
inent Chicago lawyer ; Michael Boland of Louisville, and D. S. 
Feeley of Rochester, N. Y. 

It was alleged that these three men combined against the 
other two and were thereafter referred to as the "Triangle," 
who ruled the order with an iron hand. 

The members made liberal contributions toward the as- 
sistance of their brethren in Ireland and eventually dissatis- 
faction arose as to the manner in which this money was 

In 1885, Dr. Patrick Cronin, a prominent Chicago phy- 
sician, having offices in the Chicago Opera House building 
and also at 486 North Clark street, where he resided with 
T. Conklin and wife, became the leader of the opposition to 
the methods of the Triangle and demanded that a detailed 
account be furnished of the disposition of all contributions, 
which were variously estimated at between $100,000 and 



coNViereo amp pteo in o. 







Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 407 

Shortly after Cronin assumed this attitude he was charged 
with treason and brought to trial before a committee composed 
of members said to have been in sympathy with the Triangle, 
among them being Dan Coughlin, a detective in the Chicago 
police department. 

Cronin was found guilty and expelled from the order, 
but he had a large following and the result was that thousands 
withdrew from the organization and formed new camps which 
soon grew to be as powerful as the original body. 

Realizing that the object of the order could only be 
accomplished by working harmoniously together, influential 
leaders of both factions held a conference in 1888 and the 
result was that Dr. Cronin's following agreed to "bury the 
hatchet" and return to the original order, providing that all 
actions of the Triangle since 1881 be fully and fairly investi- 

This being agreed to, a committee headed by Dr. Cronin 
was appointed and the sessions began in New York in August, 

The "Triangle" made a vigorous protest against Dr. 
Cronin remaining on this committee but the protest was 

The doctor made copious notes throughout the trial and 
at its conclusion, four of the six investigators decided that the 
charges against the "Triangle" had not been proven, Cronin 
voting with the minority. 

The physician then publicly announced that he would save 
his notes and that when the Irish National League assembled 
in Philadelphia in 1889, he would read a full report of the 
secret proceedings just concluded so that the members of the 
Clan-na-gael throughout the world would know the treachery 
of the Triangle. 

When it became known that the Triangle had been ex- 
onerated, or "whitewashed" as Cronin put it, his followers 
became more dissatisfied than ever. 

At this time Patrick O'SuUivan, who had an ice house 
at Lake View, a suburb of Chicago, and Detective Coughlin 
took an active part in the affairs of Camp 20. They were 

4o8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

bitterly opposed to Dr. Cronin and his followers, although 
Cronin was not aware of the attitude of O'Sullivan. 

In April, 1889, the latter persuaded Justice of the Peace 
John Mahoney to introduce him to Dr. Cronin. 

O'Sullivan then informed the doctor that he had heard 
of his (Cronin's) ability as a physician and he desired to enter 
into a contract whereby the doctor would attend to any of 
O'Sullivan's employees who were sick or disabled. 

Notwithstanding the fact that other reliable physicians 
were far more accessible in case of emergency; that the ice- 
man had only four men in his employ and their work was not 
at all hazardous, Dr. Cronin's suspicions were not aroused by 
this peculiar proposition, although he had prophesied that his 
enemies would attempt to permanently seal his lips before he 
could make his report public. 

He contracted to perform this service for $8 per month 
and agreed to respond whenever any one called and presented 
one of O'Sullivan's cards. 

At 8 p. m. Saturday, May 4, 1889, a very unprepossessing 
appearing man rushed into Dr. Cronin's office on North Clark 
street and excitedly announced that one of O'Sullivan's men 
had just been injured in the region of the abdomen and that 
the doctor should render immediate assistance or the man 
would die. 

Hastily placing his surgical instruments in a case and 
picking up a package of absorbent cotton, the doctor rushed 
down to the street where the stranger had a white horse and 
buggy in waiting. Mrs. Conklin saw this horse and buggy and 
just as the doctor was being driven away, a friend of his 
named Frank Scanlan passed and saluted him. 

Dr. Cronin did not return that night or the next day and 
as he was ordinarily most methodical in his habits, the Conk- 
lins became alarmed. 

The police department was notified and Acting Captain 
Herman Scheuttler was assigned to the case. 

O'Sullivan, whose home was adjacent to his ice house, was 
immediately interrogated, and he stated that he had not sent 
for Dr. Cronin and furthermore had not seen him for many 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 409 

days. He admitted having entered into the agreement hereto- 
fore referred to, but could not explain why he had selected 
a doctor six miles away to attend to emergency cases. 

On the Sunday morning after the disappearance of Cronin 
a cheap trunk was found in a ditch near Evanston avenue and 
the Catholic cemetery. 

Upon closer inspection it was found that the interior of 
the trunk was bespattered with blood and partially filled with 
absorbent cotton which was saturated with gore. 

Human hair similar to Dr. Cronin's was also found in the 

Five days after the disappearance of the doctor, a stable 
owner named Foley informed the police that a young man had 
offered to sell, him a horse and wagon for $10 and that he 
believed the fellow had stolen the rig. The man was appre- 
hended and gave the name of Frank Woodruff. 

He was evidently anxious to gain some cheap notoriety, 
even if it placed him in an unenviable position, for he invented 
several weird and conflicting stories to make it appear that he 
had used this wagon for the purpose of carrying the mysterious 
trunk to the place where it was found, and stated that it was 
used as a receptacle to convey the body of a woman who had 
been the victim of a criminal operation, and that a man of Dr. 
Cronin's description superintended the removal. 

He afterward changed his story at intervals to correspond 
with the new evidence produced. 

To add to the confusion, several apparently responsible 
persons claimed that they had met Dr. Cronin after his dis- 

A newspaper reporter in Toronto even published a long 
interview which he claimed he had had with the missing man 
in Toronto, in which the doctor was alleged to have stated that 
fear for his personal safety drove him from Chicago. 

On May 22, three sewer men, acting on complaints to the 
effect that the sewer at Evanston avenue and North Fifty-ninth 
street was obstructed, proceeded to that locality. Being at- 
tracted by the terrible stench that pervaded the atmosphere 
in the neighborhood of the catch basin, an investigation was 

4IO Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

instituted and they found that the nude body of a man had 
been thrown head first into the basin. 

With considerable difficulty it was brought to the surface. 
A towel saturated with blood was wrapped around the neck, 
underneath which was found an Agnus Dei. 

Although decomposition had reached an advanced stage 
and the body was terribly swollen, Dr. Cronin's friends were 
positive it was his remains and Dr. Lewis, a dentist, positively 
identified some dental work as that which he had done for Dr. 

Although there were five scalp wounds, there was no 
fracture of the skull and the immediate cause of death was 
never satisfactorily proven. 

After it became known that Dr. Cronin had been mur- 
dered, the Clan-na-gael and numerous other Irish societies 
passed resolutions denouncing those who participated in the 
murder and expressing the hope that the assassins would be 
brought to justice. 

On the day following the finding of Cronin's body. Captain 
Schuettler had an interview with O'Sullivan, the ice man, who 
stated that a man had rented a cottage on Ashland avenue, 
which was within 150 feet of his (O'Sullivan's) home, and 
that his actions had been most mysterious. 

Captain Schuettler proceeded to the cottage and a casual 
glance convinced him that this was the scene of the murder. 
Considerable blood was found on the front steps and about the 
rooms, and the floor had just received a coat of yellow painty 
in a clumsy effort to hide the blood. 

The small amount of furniture in the house bore the brand] 
of the A. H. Revell Furniture Co. of Chicago. 

A key was found which belonged to the blood-stained I 
trunk found on the morning following Dr. Cronin's disap- 

Captain Schuettler then interrogated Jonas Carlson and 
wife who owned the cottage and lived in a smaller cottage in 
the rear. 

Carlson's statement was as follows: 

"About noon on March 20 a man of medium size with 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 411 

dark mustache, hair and eyes called at my home and asked 
how much rent I wanted for the cottage in front. I replied 
$12 a month. 

"He finally agreed to take it and stated that his sister and 
brothers would move in shortly. He paid the rent in advance 
and gave the name of Frank Williams. 

"My son and daughter-in-law were present at the time. 

"The next morning a Swedish expressman brought a few 
articles of furniture to the house which Williams helped him 
to unload. 

"A whole month passed, and Williams again paid the rent 
but stated that the reason the family had not moved in was 
because his sister was very ill. 

"Up to May 18 the cottage was still unoccupied, although 
occasionally at nighttime lights were seen inside, and it became 
known as 'the house of mystery.' 

"On May 18, I received a note from Hammond, Ind., 
which read as follows: 

" 'Mr. Carlson. Dear Sir : My sister is low at present 
and my business calls me out of town. If you will please put 
the furniture in your cellar for a few days I will pay you for 
your trouble. I am sorry that I lost the key to the cottage 
door, but I will pay you for all trouble. My sister told me 
to paint the floor for her so that it would not be hard to keep 
clean. I am now sorry I gave the front room one coat. 

" *F. W.' " 

That afternoon Carlson's son inspected the cottage and 
was horror-stricken at finding it in the condition already de- 
scribed, but dreading notoriety, the family hesitated about 
notifying the police. Notwithstanding the fact that O'Sullivan 
informed Captain Schuettler that the conduct of the tenant 
in Carlson's cottage should be investigated, it was proven by 
the Carlson family that the minute Williams rented the cottage 
he proceeded direct to O'Sullivan's house, and addressing 
O'Sullivan, said, within the hearing of Carlson, "Well, the 
cottage is rented." 

Afterward, when the Carlsons became suspicious of their 

412 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

strange tenant, O'Sullivan assured them that he was all right 
and even offered to pay the rent if Williams did not. 

Captain Schuettler then proceeded to Revell's furniture 
store, where he learned that the blood-stained trunk and all of 
the furniture found in the Carlson cottage had been purchased 
at their place on February 17, by a man giving the name of 
J. B. Simonds, and at his request it was delivered to rooms 
12 and 15 at 117 South Clark street, which was across the 
street from Dr. Cronin's office. 

It was the theory of Captain Schuettler that it was the 
original intention to inveigle the doctor into these rooms and 
murder him there, but that the Carlson cottage was afterward 
chosen because of its isolated location. 

The description given by the real estate agents of the man 
who rented the rooms tallied with that of the mysterious Si- 
monds who purchased the furniture. Simonds was never 
apprehended, but it was suspected that he was none other 
than Pat Cooney, alias "the Fox," who was a companion of 
O'Sullivan and Coughlin and a bitter enemy of Cronin's. 

The next important information came from a milk dealer 
named William Mertes. 

On the night that Dr. Cronin disappeared, Mertes passed 
the Carlson cottage at 8 :30 p. m. 

He saw a buggy drawn by a white horse stop in front of 
the cottage and observed a man of Dr. Cronin's general ap- 
pearance alight and go up the steps. 

He knocked at the door which was opened and as soon 
as the man entered and the door was closed, he heard angry 
voices, but believing it was an ordinary quarrel he passed on. 

As soon as the man entered the door the man in the buggy 
drove off. 

The next important witness located by Captain Schuettler 
was the Swedish expressman Martinsen, who stated that in 
the latter part of March a man whose description tallied with 
that of Frank Williams, engaged him to haul the furniture 
from 117 Clark street to the Carlson cottage. 

Every effort was made to trace the white horse and buggy 
which carried Dr. Cronin to his doom. 



Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 413 

Detective Dan Coughlin, who was one of the committee 
which found Dr. Cronin guilty on the treason charge, was 
connected with a police station near Patrick Dinan's livery 
stable, located at 260 North Clark street. 

On the day of Dr. Cronin's disappearance, Coughlin in- 
structed Dinan to have a horse and buggy in readiness for a 
friend of his who would call that night at 7 p. m., and he 
furthermore cautioned him to say nothing about it. 

Believing that the rig was to be used in detective work, 
Dinan kept his word for a time, but as it answered the de- 
scription of the horse and buggy used on the night of the 
murder, he finally decided to have a talk with Captain Schaack 
of Haymarket riot fame, who was then in command of the 
police station near his stable. When he reached the station 
Dinan was met by Coughlin, who asked him what he wanted. 
Dinan told him and Coughlin replied : 

"Now, look here, there's no use making a fuss about this 
thing. You keep quiet or you'll get me into trouble as every- 
body knows Cronin and I were enemies." 

Dinan pretended to acquiesce in the suggestion, but at the 
earliest opportunity the matter was reported to headquarters. 

Frank Scanlan, who saluted Dr. Cronin as he was being 
driven away in the buggy, and Mrs. Conklin, Cronin's landlady, 
were shown this horse and buggy and they declared it was 
the same one in which the doctor left his office, and the de- 
scription of the driver, as given by Dinan and Mrs. Conklin, 
was identically the same. 

Coughlin was then called upon to explain his conduct. 
He admitted that Dinan's statement was true and claimed 
that the man who used the rig introduced himself as Thomas 
Smith, a friend of his (Coughlin's) brother, in Hancock, Mich- 
igan. He said that Smith stated that he wanted to use a horse 
and buggy that evening and asked Coughlin to engage one for 
him at Dinan's. 

As Coughlin could not produce Smith and as his conduct 
convinced the investigating authorities that he had a guilty 
knowledge of the murder, he was taken into custody. 

The next day, a William Smith, who knew Coughlin in 

414 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Hancock, called on the authorities to convince them that he 
knew nothing of the conspiracy. 

On May 26, Dr. Cronin was buried, the funeral being 
extremely spectacular. 

There were nearly 8000 men in line, representing the 
Hibernians, Clan-na-gaels, Foresters, Catholic benevolent so- 
cieties and other orders of which the deceased was a prominent 
member. There was also a band and several drum corps. 

On the day following the funeral, the authorities made a 
careful analysis of the evidence against O'SuUivan, the ice man, 
and it was decided to take him into custody. 

It was also learned that prior to May 4, O'Sullivan and 
Coughlin were in daily communication over the telephone while 
Coughlin was in the police station. 

At the coroner's inquest, Luke Dillon, the great Irish 
leader, gave testimony in which he denounced Alexander Sul- 
livan of the Triangle as a rogue. 

After receiving all the evidence gathered at that time, the 
coroner's jury rendered a verdict on June 11, in which it was 
recommended that Alexander Sullivan, Patrick O'Sullivan, 
Coughlin and Woodruff be held to answer before the grand 
jury for the murder. 

Sullivan was immediately taken into custody, but there was 
really no legal evidence to justify his arrest and he promptly 
procured his release on $20,000 bail. 

Some months afterward a demand was made that the 
bondsmen be released and Sullivan discharged, and the appli- 
cation was granted. 

This was not the first time that Sullivan was arrested. 

On August 7, 1876, at a meeting of the Chicago City 
Council, a communication from Principal Frank Hanford of 
one of the high schools was read, in which he charged that 
Sullivan's wife, who was also a prominent educator, was cre- 
ating dissension in the board of education. 

That same night Sullivan and his wife called on Hanford 
and demanded a retraction. A squabble followed, during which 
Sullivan claimed that Hanford struck Mrs. Sullivan, whereupon 
Sullivan shot and killed him. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 415 

After two trials Sullivan was acquitted on March 10, 1877. 

Before the disappearance of Dr. Cronin, one Martin Burke, 
alias Delaney, hung around the Market street saloons and 
spent money so freely as to attract attention. He was a member 
of the same camp as Coughlin and O' Sullivan and boasted 
that these men were his friends. He also expressed the opinion 
that Cronin was a British spy and should be killed. 

It was known that he made frequent and mysterious visits 
to the neighborhood of O'Sullivan's home and after the disap- 
pearance of Cronin, Burke also suddenly disappeared. 

Officer John Collins informed Captain Schuettler of these 
facts, and after some clever work a photograph was obtained of 
a group of men which included Burke. This picture was shown 
to the three Carlsons and the Swedish expressman Martinson, 
who at once picked out the photograph of Burke as the likeness 
of the much-wanted "Frank Williams," who moved the furni- 
ture from 117 Clark street and rented the Carlson cottage. 

It was learned that Burke had left the city, so Captain 
Schuettler had a complete description and photograph sent to 
the police of all Eastern and Canadian cities. 

On June 16, Chief McRae, of Winnipeg, saw a man of 
Burke's description at the Winnipeg depot, and observing that 
the man became extremely nervous when he noticed that he 
was being scrutinized, the chief finally became so positive that 
the man was Burke that he approached him and said : "What 
is your name?" 

The man replied "W. J. Cooper," but he almost immedi- 
ately afterward admitted that he was Martin Burke, alias 

Chief Hubbard of Chicago was notified and the necessary 
steps were taken to extradite the prisoner. 

Expressman Martinson was sent to Winnipeg and he 
picked Burke out of a line of fifty-two prisoners. Prominent 
attorneys were employed to prevent the extradition of Burke, 
but after a long and bitter legal battle he was returned to 

The feeling throughout the country was so strong against 

41 6 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

him that it was feared that he would be taken away from the 
officers and lynched at some of the stations. 

On June 12, the grand jury began their investigation 

Attorney John Beggs was Senior Guardian of Camp 20; 
and when testifying before the grand jury it was claimed thai 
his statements were inconsistent and contradictory regarding 
the allegation that, at the request of Dan Coughlin, he selected 
a secret committee to investigate the charge that Dr. Cronin 
was a spy. 

It was therefore concluded that he had a guilty knowled 
of the murder. 

Mertes, the milk man who saw the buggy driven up to th< 
Carlson cottage on the night of the murder, identified a little 
German named Kunze, a friend of Coughlin's, as the man who 
drove the buggy away, and another man claimed to have seen 
Kunze at 117 Clark street, where the furniture was first 
moved in. 

On June 29, the grand jury indicted Beggs, Coughlin, 
Burke, O'SuUivan, WoodruflF, Kunze and Cooney on the charge 
of murder. 

The trials of all the defendants, except Woodruff and 
Cooney, began on August 26. 

While prospective jurymen were being examined it wai 
charged that at least two court bailiffs were parties to a con 
spiracy to bribe jurymen in the interests of the defendan 
and as a result several indictments were found. 

In addition to the witnesses who appeared before th 
coroner and grand jury, several others testified before th( 
trial jury. 

John Garrity testified that Coughlin had once asked him il 
a man named Sampson could be hired to "slug" Dr. Cron 
and disfigure him for life. 

Mrs. Addie Farrar testified that O'Sullivan told her thai 
Cronin was a British spy and should be killed. 

On November 8, while the trial was in progress, a co; 
plaint was made that the sewer at Evanston and Buena avenu 
was obstructed. This was about a mile from the catch basi: 
where Cronin's body was found. 



Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 417 

Laborers were dispatched to the scene and within a short 
time they found all of Dr. Cronin's clothes, which had been 
cut from his body, his leather satchel and prescription book 
on which his name was written. 

Mrs. Paulina Hoertel corroborated the statement of Milk- 
man Mertes in regard to the white horse and buggy driven up 
to the Carlson cottage. She also saw a man of Dr. Cronin's 
general appearance enter the house and then heard some one 
cry "Jesus." 

William Neiman testified that O'Sullivan and two men 
who resembled Kunze and Coughlin drank wine in his saloon, 
which was a block from the Carlson cottage, at 11 p. m. on 
the night of the murder, although O'Sullivan denied having 
left his home at all that night. 

Detective B. Flynn of the regular department testified that 
he searched Detective Coughlin when the arrest was made and 
that he had found two knives in the prisoner's pocket which 
were afterward identified as being similar to knives which be- 
longed to Dr. Cronin. 

Coughlin produced witnesses who swore that they had 
seen both knives in the possession of the detective long before 
the disappearance of the doctor. 

The defendants then put on several witnesses, principally 
for the purpose of proving an alibi. 

On November 30, both sides had completed their case and 
fourteen days more were consumed in argument. 

On December 16, the cause was finally submitted to the 
jury. After deliberating seventy hours the jury returned the 
following verdict: 

"We, the jury, find the defendant John F. Beggs not 

"We, the jury, find the defendant John Kunze guilty of 
manslaughter as charged in the indictment and fix his punish- 
ment at imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of three 

"We, the jury, find the defendants Daniel Coughlin, Pat- 
rick O'Sullivan and Martin Burke guilty of murder in the 
manner and form as charged in the indictment and fix the 


41 8 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

penalty at imprisonment in the penitentiary for the term of 
their natural lives." 

Shortly afterward, Kunze was granted a new trial, which 
resulted in his acquittal. 

On January 19, 1893, the Court of Appeals granted a new 
trial to Coughlin on the ground that two of the jurors were 
prejudiced against him. The second trial resulted in his 

O'Sullivan and Burke died in the penitentiary. 

As there was no evidence against Woodruff except his 
own conflicting statements, none of which could be corrob- 
orated, his case was stricken from the docket on April 21, 1890. 

After Coughlin was released he opened a saloon in Clark 
street, Chicago, but it was subsequently charged that while 
employed in the Illinois Central Railway Company's claims de- 
partment he attempted to bribe jurors in damage suit cases. 

Several indictments were found against him and he fled 
to Honduras. 

On August 21, 1910, John Tyrell, attorney for Frank B. 
Harriman and others, who were formerly high officials on 
this road, but whose trials on charges of graft were then pend- 
ing, charged that considerable of the money alleged to have 
been lost through car repairing frauds, was really expended in 
supporting Coughlin's family and keeping the fugitive in 
affluence in his Central American exile. 

President J. H. Harahan of this road states that the 
charges are false. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 419 


Carter Henry Harrison was born in Lafayette County, 
Kentucky, on February 25, 1825, and graduated from Yale 
College in 1845. 

He lived in Chicago many years, and accumulated a vast 
fortune. Harrison was a Democrat and was elected by that 
party to the office of Mayor of Chicago, taking his seat on 
April 18, 1893. He was a grand character and had friends and 
admirers galore. 

Mr. Harrison was a widower and had two grown sons, 
named Preston and Carter, the latter subsequently serving as 
Mayor of Chicago for several terms. 

On October 28, 1893, Harrison, Sr., visited the World's 
Fair, then being held in Chicago, and returned to his home at 
No. 231 Ashland Boulevard at 5 p. m. After dinner he retired 
to his room to rest. At 8 p. m. the door bell rang and was 
answered by a domestic named Mary Hansen who was con- 
fronted by a small man about 25 years old, with a wizened, 
smooth-shaven face. He stated that his name was Prendergast 
and that he had urgent business with the Mayor. 

The servant proceeded to Mr. Harrison's room to deliver 
the message, but was surprised to see that the caller had fol- 
lowed her through the hall. The Mayor then stepped out of 
his room and engaged the stranger in conversation, while the 
servant went downstairs. 

After a brief conversation, the Mayor was heard to say: 
"I tell you I won't do it," Immediately afterward three shots 
rang out. 

W. J. Chalmers, who lived across the street, heard the 
shots and after rushing into his own house to notify his wife, 
he hurried over to the Harrison home. Just as he was leaving 
his own home he saw the assassin run out of the Harrison 
residence, pistol in hand, closely pursued by Harrison's hired 
man, who stopped when the murderer turned and fired at him. 

Chalmers found the Mayor lying in the hall near his room. 

420 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

An examination showed that one bullet had pierced the abdo- 
men, a second had struck over the heart and the third had 
passed through the dying man's hand, 

Preston Harrison was soon by his father's side, but the 
Mayor was rapidly sinking and in a feeble voice requested that 
Miss Annie Howard, his fiancee, be sent for, but he died before 
her arrival. 

Sergeant of Police Frank McDonald was in command of 
the Desplaines Street station at the time of the tragedy and 
was in the act of receiving the news of the assassination over 
the telephone when he was interrupted by a man who suddenly 
appeared in the station and remarked: "I did the shooting 
and this is the gun I did it with." 

Turning around the sergeant beheld a small man with a 
revolver in his hand, and after disarming him the prisoner 
voluntarily made the following statement: 

"My name is Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast, and I 
was born in Ireland in April, 1868, but I came to this country 
with my mother when I was two years old. 

"I have been a messenger boy for the Western Union 
Telegraph Co., but recently I have been employed as a dis- 
tributor for the 'Inter Ocean' and 'Evening Post.' 

"I worked hard for the election of Mayor Harrison during 
his campaign and he promised to give me a position, but as he 
refused to keep his word I killed him." 

On October 30, Prendergast was indicted by the grand 
jury and on November 2 he was arraigned. 

He pleaded "Not guilty;" it having been decided to at- 
tempt to prove he was insane. A great deal of time was 
consumed in examining into his mental condition, but he was 
adjudged sane and on December 29 was found guilty of 
murder with the death penalty attached. 

Motions were made for a new trial which were overruled 
and his execution was set for March 23, 1894. Prendergast 
was held in contempt by all classes for his cowardly crime. 

One Thomas Higgins was sentenced to be executed with 
Prendergast, and he stated that he did not fear the execution 
but hated to think of going to his death with Prendergast. 










fm. ^ ^ 




Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 421 

At the eleventh hour Prendergast obtained a reprieve 
until April 6, and Higgins expressed gratification when he 
learned that he would not be subjected to the disgrace of 
hanging with Prendergast. 

The latter was granted a new trial; was again found 
guilty and hanged on July 13, 1894. 


In the latter part of April, 1897, Adolph Leutgert, a 
powerfully built, coarse appearing man, who conducted a sau- 
sage factory at the comer of Hermitage avenue and Diversey 
boulevard, in Chicago, failed in business. He had been mar- 
ried twice. By his first wife he had a grown son named 
Arnold, and by his second wife, Louise, he had two boys 
named Elmer and Louis. The family lived on Hermitage 
avenue, next door to the factory, and a young woman named 
Mary Seimmering was employed as a servant in their house. 

On May 1, Mrs. Leutgert suddenly disappeared, but her 
husband was apparently unconcerned regarding her absence 
and advanced the theory that she had committed suicide be- 
cause of his failure in business. 

On May 4, Deidrich Bicknesse, Mrs. Leutgert's brother, 
called to see her, and Leutgert informed him that she had 
been missing for three days, but admitted that he had not 
notified the police of the singular incident nor had he taken 
any steps to locate her. 

Bicknesse, observing Leutgert's utter indifference, had 
the police notified and Captain Herman Schuettler instituted 
an investigation. 

The press gave much publicity to the mysterious disap- 
pearance and the police began a general search, even going to 
the extent of dragging the river for a considerable distance, 
but nothing was discovered. 

422 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Finally Captain Schuettler decided to confine his investi- 
gation to the factory in general but to a large vat therein 
in particular, and a rapid solution of the mystery followed. 

In the sediment in the bottom of the vat, two gold rings, 
one having the initials "L. L." engraved inside, a tooth, and 
two corset steels were found. 

The rings were positively identified as the property of 
Mrs. Louise Leutgert, and in the yard where the bones from 
the animals were thrown, a part of a skull and other pieces of 
human bones were found. 

It was learned that during the period between May 2 and 
May 17 Luetgert made many efforts to gain an entrance to 
the factory, but was always refused admission by the sheriff's 
deputies who were in charge. 

On May 18, Leutgert was arrested and four days later 
was indicted by the grand jury. 

He attempted to gain his freedom on a writ of habeas 
corpus but failed. 

On August 7, the prosecution obtained a corpse, and 
placing it in the identical vat where Mrs. Leutgert's body 
was destroyed, boiled it in caustic potash for two hours. At 
the expiration of that time, nothing remained of the fleshy 
parts of the body but a fluid and all of the bones, except the 
larger ones, were completely destroyed. 

This proved that their theory was correct. 

On August 24, Leutgert's trial began before Judge Tuthill. 
The attorney for Leutgert claimed that he had also made a 
test with a corpse, but that the boiling process did not dissolve 
it. The contention of the defense was that no crime had been 
committed and that Mrs. Leutgert was not dead, but was 
remaining in seclusion. A letter was received by Alderman 
Schlake signed by "Loisa Leutgert," in which the missing 
woman was represented as saying that she was then living 
with friends in Chicago, but it was shown that the hand- 
writing in no manner resembled that of the missing woman 
and the missive was evidently sent for the purpose of con- 
fusing the authorities. 

Nicholas Faber and Emma and Gottliebe Schimpke testi- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 423 

fied that they saw Leutgert enter his factory about 10 p. m. 
on the night of May 1 with a woman about the size of Mrs. 

Frank Bialk, a watchman in the factory, which had been 
shut down since the failure, testified that on this night, Leut- 
gert instructed him to bring down two barrels of caustic 
potash and place them in the boiler room, and that Leutgert 
then poured the contents of both barrels in one of the vats. 
The watchman was instructed to keep up steam all night and 
at 10 p. m. he was sent by Leutgert to the drug store after 
some nerve medicine. 

When he returned, Leutgert was in the room where the 
vats were located and had the door locked. 

Bialk furthermore testified that he resided at the home of 
Police Officer Klinger and that on May 6 Leutgert called on 
him. After concealing the officer under the bed in Bialk's 
room, Leutgert was admitted to the room and in suppressed 
excitement asked if the officers had discovered anything at 
the factory, Bialk answered "No," and Leutgert, with a 
show of relief, remarked: "That's good." 

He then admonished the watchman to tell the police 
nothing and promised that when the factory re-opened, good 
positions would be provided for Bialk and his son. 

Frank Odorfsky, an employee of the factory, who assisted 
Leutgert to put the caustic potash in the vat, testified that 
in all his experience in the factory he had never seen caustic 
potash used there before. 

Mrs. Agatha Tosch, whose husband conducted a saloon 
opposite the factory, testified that she saw smoke coming from 
the factory chimney on the night of May 1, although the 
factory was supposed to have been shut down at the time. 

She also stated that Leutgert visited her on the following 
day and requested her to say nothing about the smoke as it 
would get him in trouble. 

Chas. Hengst stated that he was passing the factory about 
10 p. m. on May 1, and heard a noise similar to that made by 
a person screaming. 

424 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Chemist Carl Voelker testified that there was no occasion 
for caustic potash in a sausage factory. 

Mrs. Christina Feldt, a widow with whom the defendant 
had at one time been infatuated, testified that Luetgert often 
expressed his hatred for his wife and intimated that he would 
get rid of her. 

Dr. Chas. Gibson and Professor De la Fontaine testified 
that the masses of soft substance which had presumably boiled 
over the vat was flesh that had undergone burning by potash. 

Particles removed from the drain pipes leading from the 
vat were then produced and proven to be portions of human 

Leutgert handled these exhibits in the most cold-blooded 
manner, and demonstrated that he was devoid of all feeling. 

Professor Geo. Dorsey of the Field Columbian Museum, 
testified that one of the bones found in the pile of animal bones 
was the upper portion of the left thigh bone of a woman. 

During the trial, Chas. Winthers of 250 Orleans street, 
was arrested for attempting to intimidate Mrs. Tosch, the 
witness who saw the smoke coming from the chimney in the 
sausage factory on the night of May 1. 

Captain Schuettler testified regarding the indifference ex- 
hibited by Leutgert as to the fate of his wife, and as to the 
result of his official investigations. 

The defense began on September 24, and several persons 
testified that since May 1 they had at different places seen a 
woman who resembled Mrs. Leutgert. 

It was the theory of the prosecution that Leutgert, tiring 
of his second wife, was anxious to get her out of the way so 
that he might marry Mary Seimmering, the family servant. 
On September 25, this girl testified for the defense and de- 
scribed Leutgert's "kind treatment" toward his wife. 

She denied having been on intimate terms with Leutgert, 
although members of the grand jury were subsequently pro- 
duced who swore that she had told them of her improper re- 
lations with the defendant. 

The defense then produced a number of experts for the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 425 

purpose of offsetting the testimony given by experts for the 

WilHam Charles, Leutgert's business partner, testified that 
the caustic potash was bought for the purpose of making soft 
soap, as they intended to clean the factory prior to turning it 
over to an English syndicate. 

To rebut this testimony. Deputy Sheriff Frank Moan 
swore that when he took possession of the place there were 
over 100 boxes of soap in stock, thus showing that there was 
sufficient on hand for cleaning purposes. 

On October 18, the case was submitted to the jury and 
after deliberating for sixty-six hours they failed to agree, nine 
favoring a conviction and three voting in favor of an acquittal. 

On November 29, 1897, the second trial began and Leut- 
gert made an appeal to the public for financial assistance, but 
few people responded. 

On January 19, 1898, the defendant took the stand in his 
own behalf for the first time and the police experienced great 
difficulty in handling the crowd. 

The trial resulted in a conviction and on May 5 Leutgert 
was sent to the Joliet State prison for life. 

At 6 a. m. on the morning of July 27, 1899, Leutgert left 
his cell and returned shortly afterward with his breakfast in 
a pail, but just as he was about to eat it, he dropped dead from 
heart disease. 

After his death, Frank Pratt, a member of the Chicago 
bar, stated that he visited Joliet in February, 1898, to consult 
a client named Chris Merry, and being somewhat of a palmist 
he asked Leutgert if he wanted his "hand read." 

The latter consented and Pratt told Leutgert that he pos- 
sessed a violent temper and at times was not responsible for 
his actions. 

Pratt stated that Leutgert then virtually admitted that he 
killed his wife when he was possessed of the devil. 

Pratt is quoted as saying that he regarded this admission 
as a professional secret and therefore did not feel at liberty to 
divulge it until after the death of Leutgert. 

It is said that Leutgert also made similar admissions to 
a fellow prisoner. 

426 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


During the months of July and August, 1903, a reign 
of terror prevailed in Chicago similar to that which prevailed 
in San Francisco shortly after the great earthquake when 
Seimsen and Dabner, the "gas pipe" thugs, were plying their 
vocation. The gang responsible for this condition consisted 
of four very young men named Gustave Marx, Harvey Van 
Dine, Peter Neidemeyer and Emil Roeski. 

While this gang consisted of four members, there was no 
instance where less than two or more than three participated 
in any one crime. 

Their criminal career began in 1901, when Neidemeyer, 
Van Dine and Marx stole some lead pipe from the Audubon 
School in Chicago, for which they were sent to the "Bride- 
well" jail for three months. 

On the night of July 3, 1903, Neidemeyer and Roeski 
held up L. W. Lathrop and Martin Doherty while they were 
engaged in their duties at the Clybourn Junction station of 
the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in Chicago. Lathrop 
offered resistance and was shot, but not fatally wounded. 
After obtaining $70 the bandits escaped. 

On July 9, Marx, Van Dine and Roeski held up the saloon 
conducted by Ernest Spires at 1820 North Ashland avenue. 
Roeski went into the saloon and ordered a glass of beer. At 
that time the proprietor and a young man named Otto Bauder 
were the only other persons in the place. Van Dine and 
Marx then entered and ordered them to throw up their hands. 
Bauder tried to escape but Roeski shot him in the back, in- 
flicting a fatal wound. Less than $50 was taken from the 
proprietor and the bandits departed. 

On the following night. Van Dine and Roeski entered 
Greenberg's saloon at Robey and Addison streets, and after 
forcing the bartender, Louis Cohen, who was the only one in 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 427 

the saloon, into the large ice chest, they took $25 from the 
cash register and disappeared. 

On the night of July 12, the same pair entered Charles 
Alvin's saloon at Sheffield avenue and Roscoe street, and 
after drawing their automatic revolvers, which they habitually 
displayed on such occasions, ordered the proprietor and four 
patrons to hold up their hands while one of the robbers 
searched them. About $125 was obtained and again the pair 

On July 20, the same two entered Peter Gorski's saloon, 
located at 2611 Milwaukee avenue. The proprietor, who was 
alone at the time of their entry, attempted to hide behind the 
bar, but was shot in the head, a serious but not fatal wound 
being inflicted. The robbers obtained less than $5 from the 
cash register and fled. 

On the night of August 1, Van Dine and Neidemeyer 
entered the saloon conducted by Benjamin La Cross, located 
at 2120 West North avenue, where the proprietor and Adolph 
Jennsen were playing a game of cards. Without the slight- 
est provocation the blood-thirsty bandits opened fire, inflicting 
wounds from which both men died within twenty-four hours. 
Sixty-four dollars was obtained on this occasion. 

About 3 a. m. on August 30, 1903, Marx, Van Dine and 
Neidemeyer approached the car barn of the Chicago Street 
Railroad Company at Sixty-first and State streets. In the 
office of the company, William Edmund, Frank Stewart and 
Henry Biehl were engaged in balancing up the day's receipts, 
and J. Johnson, a motorman, was asleep in a chair in an ad- 
joining room. Neidemeyer stopped at a side window of the 
office where he could observe all that transpired inside, while 
Marx and Van Dine, who carried a sledge hammer, proceeded 
to the entrance. The former pointed his automatic revolver 
through the receiving window at the occupants of the office 
and commanded them to throw up their hands, while Van 
Dine broke in the door with his sledge hammer, which was left 
in the office. 

As the clerks attempted to defend the company's money, 
a fusillade of bullets was fired, both from the bandits in the 

428 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

office and from Neidemeyer, who fired through the window 
from the outside. On hearing the shots, motorman Johnson 
came into the room, the final result of the firing being that 
Stewart and Johnson were killed and Edmund and Biehl were 
seriously wounded. The bandits then gathered $2,250 and 
went to Jackson Park, where the money was divided. 

In the early part of November, 1903, Assistant Chief 
Schuettler learned that Marx was a frequenter of numerous 
resorts on the west side, and although out of employment, he 
was spending money recklessly. It was also ascertained that 
while under the influence of liquor he exhibited an automatic 
revolver. Detectives John Quinn and William Blaul of the 
42nd Precinct were detailed to locate and arrest this fellow. 

On the night of November 21, 1903, he was located in 
Greenberg's saloon, the same place which Van Dine and Roeski 
held up on July 10. It was arranged that Blaul should enter 
the side door at the same instant Quinn entered the front 
door of the saloon. Marx saw them as they entered, and 
like a flash he fired at Quinn, killing him instantly. Blaul 
fired and slightly wounded Marx. The officer then leaped 
forward and overpowered the bandit before he had an oppor- 
tunity to fire again. Marx was manacled and taken to jail, 
where Assistant Chief Schuettler subjected him to a severe 
examination. At first the thug was non-committal, but when 
he realized that he would probably hang for the murder of 
Quinn and believing that his companions had deserted him, 
he finally made a complete confession of the crimes com- 
mitted by the gang, as heretofore related in this narrative. 

In addition, it was learned that the sledge hammer used 
in the car barn robbery, which had a letter "N" burned in 
the handle, was stolen by Van Dine from the Northwestern 
railroad shops, where he was formerly employed. 

Shortly after the confession was made, it became public 
property and the pictures of the missing bandits were ob- 
tained by the police and published in the papers. 

Van Dine, Roeski and Neidemeyer then boarded a train 
and rode out into Indiana, where they took refuge in an 
abandoned cellar over which a house once stood. After 


Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 429 

spending a day and night in this cellar they proceeded to a 
country store conducted by Julius Scheurer at Clarks Sta- 
tion, on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, to replenish their 
supply of provisions. At this store was a school-teacher named 
Henry Reichers, who had seen the newspaper pictures of 
the bandits, and immediately recognized this trio as the men 
wanted by the authorities. This information was at once con- 
veyed to the Chicago police, and Assistant Chief Schuettler 
detailed a posse, consisting of Detectives Joseph Driscoll, Mat. 
Zimmer and six others, to repair to the scene. 

That night the officers located the abandoned cellar, but 
the bandits had fled. As it was dark the officers decided to 
rest until daylight at John Haynes' farmhouse, when they 
again took up the trail, which they had no difficulty in fol- 
lowing through the snow. It led them to an old dugout made 
by railroad laborers near Miller Station. 

The officers formed a semi-circle around the cave and 
called out to the bandits to surrender, but instead of doing 
so, Neidemeyer and Van Dine stuck their heads out of the 
hole and began a deadly fire with their automatic revolvers, 
Driscoll being njortally wounded and Zimmer receiving two 
serious wounds. As the detectives were entirely exposed to 
these expert shots, they were forced to retreat. 

At this moment the bandits rushed out of the cave, firing 
as they ran ; Neidemeyer and Roeski being wounded as they 
fled. They had only traveled a short distance when Roeski 
became exhausted and, leaving his companions, he cut across 
a field. 

Van Dine and Neidemeyer then ran along the railroad 
track to a little station, where a locomotive was coupled to 
some cars. They climbed into the cab, where they found 
Engineer Coffey and Brakeman L. Scovia. With a display 
of revolvers, the bandits commanded them to uncouple the 
locomotive from the train and carry them down the track as 
fast as possible. Scovia attempted to grapple with Neide- 
meyer, who shot him in the head, killing him instantly. See- 
ing the folly of resisting, the engineer promptly obeyed their 

430 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

In the meantime the movements of the desperadoes had 
been telegraphed to all the way stations for miles around, and 
rapidly formed posses were prepared to give them a warm 

The locomotive bearing these bandits had only traveled 
a few miles when a locked switch compelled them to stop and 
return over the same track. When they had gone back a short 
distance they ordered Coflfey to stop, and after admonishing 
him to render no assistance to their pursuers under pain of 
death, they started across the country. 

A party of hunters, upon learning of what had transpired, 
took up the trail and chased the thugs into some marsh land. 
When the desperate pair saw that they could proceed no fur- 
ther, they turned and had about decided to fight to the end 
when the contents of a shotgun poured into Van Dine's face, 
blinded him with his own blood, and he proposed to Neide- 
meyer that they surrender. The latter acquiesced and the 
pair then informed the hunters of their decision, and after 
throwing up their hands, walked out to their captors. 

In the meantime Chief O'Neil sent out heavy reinforce- 
ments in command of Assistant Chief Schuettler, who divided 
his men into squads and dispatched them in different direc- 
tions. It was to one of these squads that the bandits were 
delivered by the hunters. 

When Roeski left his two companions, he went to a rail- 
road station named Aetna. His bravado having completely 
deserted him, he threw his pistol away and lay down on a 
bench in the station, where the officers finally located him 
and he surrendered without a struggle. 

No effort was made by the Governor of Indiana to en- 
force the extradition laws and the trio were immediately 
taken back to Chicago, where they freely discussed their crimes, 
thereby corroborating the confession previously made by Marx. 

The grand jury found indictments against the four men 
for their numerous crimes, and in the early part of January, 
1904, Van Dine, Neidemeyer and Marx were tried for the 
car barn murders. They were found guilty and hanged on 
April 22, 1904. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 431 

On April 19 Neidemeyer attempted to commit suicide by 
severing the arteries in his arm with a lead pencil and swal- 
lowing the sulphurated ends of a quantity of matches. On 
the morning of the executions, his helpless condition made it 
necessary for the officials to carry him to the scaffold in a chair. 

As Roeski did not participate in the car barn tragedy, 
he was tried for the murder of Otto Bauder during the saloon 
holdup on July 9, 1903. He was found guilty, but as some 
of the jurors had some doubt as to which bandit fired the 
fatal shot, he was sentenced to serve the remainder of his 
life at Joliet prison. 


(From Chicago Police Records and Illinois Supreme Court 


Johann Hoch was born in Strasburg, Germany, in 1860. 
His father and two brothers were ministers in Strasburg, and 
Johann was educated for the ministry, but he abandoned the 
idea and came to the United States. 

Under the name of John Schmidt, Hoch married a middle- 
aged woman named Caroline Streicher, in Philadelphia, on 
October 20, 1904, but eleven days later he disappeared, and 
on November 9 he registered at Mrs. Kate Bowers' hotel, 674 
East Sixty-third street, Chicago. 

On November 16, he went to the Chicago City Bank to 
see Mr. Vail, the owner of a vacant cottage at 6225 Union 
avenue, which Hoch desired to rent. Representing himself 
as holding a responsible position with Armour & Co., he suc- 
ceeded in procuring the cottage in which he claimed he and 
his wife intended to reside. 

On December 3, he published an advertisement in the 
Chicago Abend Post, a German paper, which read as follows : 

"Matrimonial — German ; own home ; wishes acquaintance 
of widow without children ; object, matrimony. Address M 
422, Abend Post." 

432 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Marie Walcker, a hard-working woman about forty-six 
years of age, who had obtained a divorce from her first hus- 
band and was conducting a Httle candy store at 12 Willow 
street, saw this advertisement and requested her sister, Mrs. 
Bertha Sohn, to prepare and forward a letter which read as 
follows : 

"Dear Sir: — In answer to your honorable advertisement 
I hereby inform you that I am a lady standing alone. I am 
forty-six years and have a small business, also a few hundred 

"If you are in earnest. I tell you I shall be. I may be 
seen at 12 Willow street. Marie Walcker." 

In response to the letter, Hoch called at the candy store 
on December 6, and during an extended conversation which 
followed he represented to Mrs. Walcker that his wife had 
been dead for two years ; that he possessed $8,000, the cottage 
which he rented from Vail, and several vacant lots in the 
neighborhood of the cottage. He also claimed that his father, 
who lived in Germany, was 81 years of age and that when 
the old man died he would inherit $15,000. 

It was .soon agreed by the couple that they were intended 
for each other, and Hoch became a constant visitor at the 
store for the next four days, at the expiration of which time 
the couple decided to marry at once. The license was there- 
fore procured and the marriage ceremony performed. 

The "bride" sold her store for $75, which she gave to 
Hoch along with her entire savings, amounting to $350, 
which he claimed he needed to prepare his home for occu- 
pancy, as his money was tied up at that time. 

Mrs. Walcker-Hoch had a widowed sister named Mrs. 
Fischer, whom Hoch met shortly after his latest marriage, 
and whom he learned had $893 deposited in a savings bank. 

A week after the marriage, Mrs. Walcker-Hoch became 
very ill, and on December 20 Dr. John Reese was called in. 
The woman complained of excruciating pains in the abdominal 
regions ; she vomited freely ; had a violent thirst and a tingling 
sensation in the extremities, which she described as similar 
to ants crawling through her flesh. The doctor diagnosed the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 433 

trouble as nephritis and cystitis (Bright's disease and inflam- 
mation of the bladder). 

Hoch sent for the sick woman's sister, Mrs. Fischer, who 
frequently assisted about the house. She mailed her picture 
to her sick sister, which Hoch received, and he wrote a letter 
acknowledging the receipt of it, in which he stated that he 
intended to keep the picture himself and carry it on his breast. 

Shortly afterward he accompanied Mrs. Fischer from 
the sick chamber to a car, and en route he told her that if 
he had met her four weeks sooner he would have married her. 
Finally Hoch and Mrs. Fischer appeared to be so friendly 
that the sick woman became jealous, and Mrs. Fischer left the 
house in a rage but she soon returned. 

On January 12, 1905, Mrs. "Hoch" died, and Dr. Reese 
certified that death was due to nephritis and cystitis. 

Mrs. Fischer was at the house at the time, and a few 
moments after the death occurred Hoch proposed marriage 
to her. She protested that the proposal was a trifle too sud- 
den, although she accompanied him to Joliet three days after 
the funeral, where they were clandestinely "married." 

Hoch then suggested that the "honeymoon" be spent in 
Germany, reminding his "bride" of the advisability of visiting 
his "aged and wealthy father," but he added that before they 
took the trip he would need $1,000 to straighten out his busi- 
ness affairs in Chicago. The "bride" volunteered to come to 
his assistance and she drew $750 from the bank and deliv- 
ered it to Hoch. 

They then proceeded to 372 Wells street, where the 
"bride" rented a flat and kept roomers previous to her mar- 
riage. At the door they were met by Mrs. Sauerbruch, who 
stated in an undertone that Mrs. Sohn, the sister who pre- 
pared the letter Mrs. Walcker sent to Hoch in answer to his 
advertisement, was in the rear of the house and had been 
denouncing Hoch as a murderer and swindler. The bigamist 
became greatly agitated and requested that he be left alone 
in the parlor while the two women went to the rear of the 
house to pacify Mrs. Sohn. 

The women returned in a few moments but Hoch had 

434 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

disappeared. This move convinced the latest Mrs. Hoch that 
her sister's suspicions were well founded, and Inspector of 
Police George Shippy was notified. 

The body of Mrs. Walcker-Hoch was exhumed and a 
post-mortem examination held, which resulted in the discovery 
of 7.6 grains of arsenic in the stomach and 1% grains in the 
liver. As there was no arsenic in any of the medicmes pre- 
scribed by Dr. Reese nor in the embalming fluid, the authori- 
ties became convinced, in view of Hoch's conduct, that it was 
he who administered the poison. His picture was published in 
the papers and great publicity was given to the case. 

On January 30, 1905, Mrs. Catherine Kimmerle, who con- 
ducted a boarding-house at 546 West Forty-seventh street, 
New York, notified the police- that a man giving the name of 
Henry Bartells, but whose actions and appearance tallied with 
Hoch's, was stopping at her place. Twenty minutes after he 
entered the house he volunteered to assist her in the kitchen 
by peeling potatoes, and the next day he proposed marriage, 
but the lady became frightened at his ardent manner of pro- 

The man was taken into custody, and after admitting that 
he was Hoch, claimed that he assumed the name of Bartells 
because of trouble he had with his sister-in-law regarding 

When searched a fountain pen was found in his possession 
but there was no pen in the holder. A closer inspection re- 
vealed the fact that the reservoir contained fifty-eight grains 
of a powdered substance which the prisoner claimed was tooth 
powder, but when informed that the substance would be an- 
alyzed, he replied : "Well, it's no use ; its arsenic which I 
bought with the intention of committing suicide." 

He insisted that he did not have the arsenic in Chicago 
and gave the location of a drug store in New York where 
he purchased the pen and arsenic. The police visited the store 
and found that fountain pens were not sold there and that 
no arsenic had been sold to Hoch. 

By the time the prisoner was returned to Chicago, Inspec- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 435 

tor Shippy had learned of the following women who were 
among Hoch's victims : 

Mrs. Martha Steinbucher; married to Hoch in 1895 and 
died four months later. When this lady was dying she de- 
clared that she had been poisoned, but it was thought that 
she was delirious when she made the statement and no credence 
was placed in it. Hoch sold her property for $4,000 and dis- 

Mary Rankin married Hoch in November, 1895, in Chi- 
cago, and he disappeared with her money on the following day. 

Martha Hertzfield married him in April, 1896, and four 
months later Hoch disappeared with $600 of her money. 

Mary Hoch married her namesake in August, 1896, at 
WheeHng, W. Va., and died shortly afterward. 

Barbara Brossert married him on September 22, 1896, in 
San Francisco, after a three days' courtship. This lady was 
a widow living at 108 Langton street. Hoch married her un- 
der the name of Schmitt and disappeared two days afterward 
with $1,465 of her money. As this was Mrs. Brossert's life 
savings the loss so affected her that she died shortly afterward. 

Hoch then took up lodgings at 30 Turk street, in the same 
city, and immediately attempted to creep into favor with the 
landlady, Mrs. H. Tannert. After a few hours' acquamtance, 
he proposed marriage, but the lady refused the offer and Hoch 
left San Francisco. 

Clara Bartel married Hoch in November, 1896, at Cincin- 
nati, Ohio, and died three months later. 

Julia Dose married this man in January, 1897, in Hamil- 
ton, Ohio, and on the day of her marriage Hoch disappeared 
with $700 of her money. 

In April, 1898, he was arrested in Chicago for selling 
mortgaged furniture, and was sent to the house of correction 
for two years. After being liberated he began operations 
again as follows: 

He married Anna Goehrke in November, 1901, and de- 
serted her immediately. 

Mrs. Mary Becker married Hoch on April 8, 1902, in 
St. Louis, and died in 1903. 

436 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Mrs. Anna Hendrickson married him on January 2, 1904, 
in Chicago, and eighteen days later the bridegroom disappeared 
with $500 of her money. 

He married Lena Hoch in June, 1904, in Milwaukee, and 
she died three weeks later, leaving Hoch $1,500. 

Then came the marriage to Caroline Streicker in Phila- 
delphia and Mrs. Walcker and her sister, Mrs. Fischer, in 
Chicago, as previously related. 

In addition to this list he had another wife in Germany. 

On his return to Chicago from New York, Hoch was 
interrogated at length by Inspector Shippy and then five of 
his former "wives" were admitted to the room for the purpose 
of identifying the prisoner. When they caught sight of Hoch, 
it required considerable effort on the part of the officials to 
quiet them, as they were collectively expressing their opinion 
of the prisoner in most vigorous terms. 

On February 23, the coroner's jury returned a verdict ac- 
cusing Hoch of murdering Mrs. Walcker by means of arsenic 
poisoning. The case was then taken before the grand jury, 
where Hoch was indicted, and on May 5, 1905, he was placed 
on trial. 

During the trial. Inspector Shippy testified that Hoch ad- 
mitted to him that he had no love for any of his wives, and 
that when he advertised for them, he mentioned his preference 
for middle-aged women because it was easier to separate them 
from their money than younger women. 

On May 19, Hoch was found guilty, and on June 3, the 
date for his execution was set for June 23. 

He appealed to the Governor, who refused to interfere. 
On the day set for his execution, a Miss Cora Wilson, who 
conducted a furrier's store at 66 Wabash avenue, Chicago, 
came to the rescue by advancing sufficient money to make it 
possible for an appeal to be taken to the Supreme Court, and 
the Governor consented to a postponement of the execution. 

Miss Wilson claimed that she had never seen Hoch, but 
that she desired that he be given every opportunity to prove 
his innocence. 

After reviewing the case the Supreme Court sustained the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 437 

lower court, and the execution was then set for August 25, 1905. 
On August 24, he obtained another lease of life until the 
October session of the Supreme Court, but on December 16, 
this court again refused to interfere and the execution occurred 
on February 23, 1906. 


Belle Paulsen was born in the little town of Christiania, 
Norway. Her father, Peter Paulsen, was a travelmg con- 
jurer and magician, and when Belle was a mere child she par- 
ticipated in the exhibitions by dancing on the tight-rope. 

They prospered and through their frugality they were en- 
abled to retire when Belle was still in her teens, and the father 
purchased a little farm in their native land. 

Belle then came to the United States, and about two 
years later she married a Swede named Albert Sorenson. 
They resided in Chicago, and in 1900 Sorenson died under 
most suspicious circumstances. While it was said that he died 
from heart failure, his relatives were positive that he was 
poisoned, and as a motive for the deed, pointed to the fact 
that the widow collected the life insurance of $8,500 as soon 
as possible after his death. It is stated that an inquest was 
ordered, but for some reason the body was never exhumed. 

Mrs. Sorenson then moved to Austin, 111., and a short 
time afterward her home there was burned. A question arose 
as to the origin of the fire, but in the absence of proof of 
fraud the insurance companies were forced to pay the insur- 

She then returned to Chicago, where she conducted a 
confectionery store at Grand avenue and Elizabeth street, 
which was subsequently gutted by fire. This mysterious fire 

438 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

resulted in another investigation by the insurance officials, but 
they were forced to pay her claim. 

Shortly afterward she purchased a farm about six miles 
from La Porte, Indiana, and married Peter Gunness a few 
months later. 

In 1904, a meat chopper is said to have fallen off a shelf 
and split his head open, thus ending his existence. The weep- 
ing widow described to the coroner's jury how it fell from a 
shelf and struck her "poor husband's head," and in the absence 
of proof to the contrary, the statement was accepted as true. 

At the time of the death of Gunness, she had three small 
children, named Philip, Myrtle and Lucy. She also had an 
adopted daughter named Jennie Olsen, who was fourteen 
years of age. 

In September, 1906, this girl disappeared, and Mrs. Gun- 
ness accounted for her absence by stating that she had sent 
her to Los Angeles to complete her education. 

The woman then employed a man named Ray Lamphere 
to do the chores about the place. In 1906 she inserted an 
advertisement in the matrimonial columns of the leading pa- 
pers of Chicago and other large cities, which read as follows : 

"Personal — Comely widow who owns a large farm in one 
of the finest districts in La Porte County, Indiana, desires to 
make acquaintance of a gentleman equally well provided, with 
view of joining fortunes. No replies by letter considered un- 
less sender is willing to follow answer with personal visit." 

In May, 1907, Ole B. Budsburg, a rather elderly widower 
residing in lolo, Wisconsin, saw the advertisement, and as it 
looked good to him he decided to make a nice, quiet investiga- 
tion without telling his grown up sons, Oscar and Mathew, 
a word about it. 

The poor old gentleman left his home but never returned, 
and the last seen of him was when he negotiated the sale of 
a mortgage at the La Porte Savings Bank and drew the money 
on April 6, 1907. 

In December, 1907, Andrew Hegelein, a thrifty batchelor 
from Aberdeen, South Dakota, also corresponded with Mrs. 
Gimness. She replied that it would be advisable for him to 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 439 

come to the farm, and she suggested that he might sell out his 
business interests in South Dakota, as she was very favorably 
impressed with his letters. 

As far as was convenient to do so, Hegelein, delighted 
with the headway he was making, complied with her request 
and repaired to her farm, arriving in January, 1908. He had 
been at Mrs. Gunness' place about two weeks when he accom- 
panied her to the Savings Bank in La Porte and presented a 
check for $2,900, but as he was unknown there and as the 
bankers would not accept the endorsement of Mrs. Gunness 
for this amount, they left the check there for collection. In 
a few days the draft came and the money was delivered to 
him, which she must have obtained, for almost immediately 
afterward she deposited $500 in that bank, $700 in the State 
Bank, and also paid numerous large bills. 

A few days later Hegelein disappeared, and Mrs. Gunness 
stated that he had drawn the money for the purpose of going 
to Norway. He had a brother named A. K. Hegelein in 
Aberdeen, South Dakota, and as the weeks rolled by and he 
heard nothing from his brother, he became alarmed and wrote 
to Mrs. Gunness regarding his whereabouts. 

In her reply she stated that all the information she could 
impart was the missing man's own statement to the effect 
that he drew his money with the intention of going to Nor- 
way, but she expressed some apprehension over his failure to 
confide his plans to his brother, and she suggested in her 
letter that he sell out the remainder of his brother's stock 
along with his own, and come to her farm, so that she might 
join him in an extensive search. 

At 3 :30 a. m. on April 28, 1908, Mrs. Gunness' home was 
burned to the ground and in the ruins the charred remains of 
a woman and three children were found. The bodies of the 
little ones were at once identified as the remains of Mrs. 
Gunness' children, but as the woman's head was burned or 
cut off, there was some question as to whose remains they 

Ray Lamphere, the farm hand, left her employ on Feb- 
ruary 3, 1908, because of a quarrel with Mrs. Gunness, and 

440 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

procured employment on a farm owned by John Wheatbrook, 
a short distance from the Gunness place. 

After Lamphere left Mrs. Gunness, he frequently inti- 
mated that he could make it interesting for her if he wanted 
to talk, but her only response to this was that Lamphere was 

As it was proven conclusively that he was on the ground 
at the time the fire started, he was taken into custody by Sheriff 

The mysterious remarks made by Lamphere in regard to 
making trouble for Mrs. Gunness were recalled, and a most 
thorough investigation was instituted, with the result that 
five more mutilated and decomposed bodies were found buried 
in the back yard on May 5. 

One was identified as the body of Jennie Olsen Gunness, 
the sixteen-year-old adopted daughter of Mrs. Gunness, who 
was supposed to be in Los Angeles completing her education. 
It is presumed that she was murdered because she knew too 
much regarding the death of Peter Gunness in 1904. 

The second body was that of Andrew Hegelein from 
South Dakota. The third was the unidentified body of a man, 
and the fourth and fifth were the bodies of two eight-year-old 
girls. On May 6, four additional bodies of men were un- 
earthed in the back yard. 

In most instances the limbs were removed from the bodies 
in such a manner as to indicate that the amputations were 
performed by some one familiar with anatomy. The theory 
is that some of the bodies were too heavy for the woman to 
handle as a whole. 

On May 9, two more bundles of bones, decayed flesh and 
clothing were found in the private graveyard, but the ravages 
of decomposition made identification impossible. On May 14, 
a few bones of one more victim were found in the ashes in 
the cellar. 

In view of these discoveries a serious doubt arose as to 
the actual fate of Mrs. Gunness. It was suspected that in 
addition to murdering her children and several others, she had 
enveigled some unsuspecting woman into her home, and after 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 441 

killing her, disfigured her remains in such a manner that they 
could not be recognized, and after setting fire to the house, 
escaped ; believing it would be taken for granted that the 
charred remains of the woman were those of herself and that 
no further search would be made for her. This theory proved 
incorrect, for on May 16 a lower jawbone was found in the 
ashes and was taken to Dr. Morton, a dentist in La Porte, 
for examination. Some dentistry work was plainly visible on 
the teeth which still adhered to the jawbone, which he posi- 
tively identified as work done for Mrs. Gunness a year pre- 
viously. Rings found on the fingers of the dead woman were 
also identified as the property of Mrs. Gunness. 

There was a difference of opinion as to how Mrs. Gunness 
met her death. The theory of the prosecution was that she 
-was burned to death, but Dr. J. Meyers gave it as his opinion 
that death was caused by contraction of the heart, probably 
due to strychnine poisoning, which was the poison used in 
killing Hegelein and several other victims. 

Shortly after Mrs. Gunness' private graveyard was dis- 
covered, Oscar and Mathew Budsburg came to La Porte, as 
they suspected that their aged father, who had mysteriously 
disappeared from his home in lolo. Wis., in May, 1907, might 
have fallen into this woman's trap. Their suspicions proved 
to be well founded, for they identified one of the bodies as 
that of their missing father, 

Olof Lindboe of Chicago stated that his brother, Thomas, 
had worked for Mrs. Gunness three years previously, and the 
last letter he had received from him contained the information 
that Thomas intended to marry his employer. As Olof heard 
nothing more from his brother he wrote to Mrs. Gunness, 
who replied that Thomas had gone to St. Louis, but Olof never 
heard from him again. 

On May 12, the surgical instruments with which the bodies 
were probably dismembered, were found in the ashes. 

On May 19, Miss Jennie Graham of Waukesha, Wis., ar- 
rived in La Porte to inquire regarding her brother, who had 
left home to marry a rich widow in La Porte, but who was 
never heard from after that. As most of the bodies were 

442 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

badly mutilated and decomposed, it was impossible to ascer- 
tain if her brother's remains were among them. 

Henry Gurholdt of Scandinavia, Wis., corresponded with 
Mrs. Gunness, and then took $1,500 with him to La Porte and 
was never seen again, but a watch found with one of the 
bodies was exactly the same in appearance as the one he wore. 

Mrs. Marie Svenherud of Christiania, Norway, made in- 
quiry through Acting Consul Faye of Chicago for her son 
Olof, who had written her that he was about to leave Chicago 
for La Porte to marry a rich Norwegian widow with whom 
he had become acquainted through the agency of the matri- 
monial advertisement column of a newspaper. The mother 
added that she never heard from her son again. 

After the disappearance of Hegelein, Lamphere was seen 
wearing an overcoat which belonged to the former, and on 
May 18 a watch which was in the possession of Lamphere at 
the time of his arrest was identified by J. G. Ramden of Man- 
fred, N. D,, as the property of his half brother, John Moe of 
Elbow Lake, Minn., who left his home in 1907, ostensibly to 
marry a widow in La Porte, but was never heard from after- 
ward. Lamphere stated that Mrs. Gunness had presented him 
with the watch. 

When first interrogated as. to his whereabouts on the night 
of the fire, Lamphere claimed that he was in the company of 
a negress named Mrs. Elizabeth Smith until 4 a. m., or one- 
half hour after the fire started, but he subsequently confessed 
that he burned the Gunness home but denied that he had com- 
mitted murder. 

Lamphere and a neighbor named Fred Brickman stated 
that they dug trenches for Mrs. Gunness at different times, but 
that they had no knowledge as to for what purpose they 
were used. 

On May 22, 1908, Lamphere was indicted for the murder 
of the Gunness family by means of arson, and also on the 
charge of accessory in the murder of Hegelein. He pleaded 
guilty of arson and was sentenced to imprisonment for an in- 
determinate period of from two to twenty years. Immediately 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 443 

after his conviction Lamphere's health failed rapidly and he 
died from consumption on December 30, 1909. 

On January 14, 1910, Rev. E. A. Schell made public a 
confession made by Lamphere shortly after his arrest, in 
which he admitted that he helped Mrs. Gunness to bury one 
of the victims and saw her chloroform another after felling 
him with a hatchet. He also confessed that he chloroformed 
the Gunness family, but claimed that Mrs. Smith, a negress 
with whom he had spent a portion of the night, assisted him, 
and that it was she who set the house on fire. 

As there was no evidence to substantiate the charge 
against the negress she was never prosecuted. It is the opin- 
ion of Attorney Ralph Smith that the negress did not accom- 
pany Lamphere on this night. 

444 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


In the early part of 1890, an Italian named Prorenzano, 
enjoyed a monopoly of the unloading of fruit and other profit- 
able dock work in New Orleans. Another Italian named 
Matranga, who conducted a saloon, became envious of Pro- 
venzano and decided to procure a portion of this profitable 
business. He therefore gathered about him numerous adher- 
ents and it was decided to begin operations on a large scale. 

The bitterest feeling arose between the two factions. 
One morning in July, Provenzano's men were en route to 
the dock in a wagon shortly before daybreak, when several 
assassins, armed with shotguns loaded with buckshot, waylaid 
them as they passed through a dark alley. Two men were 
killed and several were seriously wounded. 

Chief of Police David C. Hennessey began a rigorous 
fight against those suspected of being implicated in this as- 
sassination, and in an interview stated that their arrest would 
occur shortly and that he had an abundance of evidence to 
convict them, not only of this outrage, but of numerous other 
depredations which had recently been committed. 

About midnight on October 15, 1890, the Chief started 
to walk to his home on Girod street, and when he turned into 
this street from Basin street, three men, who had been con- 
cealed in a doorway, jumped out and began firing at him. 
He was virtually riddled with bullets, but he succeeded in 
drawing his own pistol from, which he fired four shots, none 
of which took effect as far as is known. 

The Chief died shortly after being wounded and as a 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 445 

result of the assassination the feeling against the lower class 
of Italians became so intense that they feared to venture 
out upon the streets. 

Among the eleven men arrested on suspicion of having 
participated in the murder was Antone Scaffide. On October 
17, a young man named Joseph Duffy called at the jail and 
asked to see Scaffide. When the prisoner was brought before 
him, Duffy whipped out a revolver and fired at Scaffide, the 
bullet inflicting a painful but not serious wound in the neck. 
When asked his reason for committing the assault, he stated 
that he only wished there were more men like himself in New 

On December 22, several of the accused Italians were 
placed on trial and they pleaded not guilty. It was claimed 
that several of the jurors were either intimidated or cor- 
rupted. At any rate none of the defendants were convicted — 
much to the disgust of many of the citizens of New Orleans. 

Believing that the trials throughout were a travesty on 
justice, several of the most prominent citizens concluded that 
the people must assume the authority which had been dele- 
gated to the courts. They therefore issued a call for a mass 
meeting at Clay Square at 10 a. m., on March 14, 1891, and 
it was suggested that those who responded should come pre- 
pared for action. At the appointed time several thousand 
persons congregated, and addresses were made by three of 
the leading lawyers of the city, who stated that the time had 
arri ^ed when the people must administer justice themselves, 
"hey then proceeded to the arsenal, where shotguns and 
rifles vere furnished. They then went to the prison. After 
sweepii g the small force of police and deputy sheriffs aside, 
they coiimanded Captain Davis to open the door, but as he 
ignored .he order the door was broken open by the use of 
axes and ""Dattering rams. The turnkey was relieved of his 
keys and tie crowd then had access to the whole prison. The 
Italians whc were confined in the prison awaiting a new trial, 
had been secreted in the female ward, but the crowd soon 
located them, and the prisoners crouched in the corners of the 
cells begging for mercy. Their cries fell on deaf ears, for 

446 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

they were riddled with bullets. One man named Pollize, after 
being killed was hanged from a window, as a warning to 

The following is the list of those killed : Joseph Macheca, 
Manuel Pollize, Antonio Scaffidi, Antonio Bagnetto, Frank 
Romero, Lorenzo Comitz, Vincent Caruso, Antonio Marchesi, 
Charles Trahina, Rocca Geracci and Pietro Monasterio. 

After these eleven men were killed, Attorney W. S. Park- 
erson advised the crowd to disperse, which they did, after car- 
rying him on their shoulders to Clay Square. 

Mayor Shakespeare of New Orleans, when asked if he 
regretted the killing of the Italians, is said to have replied as 
follows : 

"No, sir; I am an American citizen and I am not afraid 
of the devil. These men deserved killing and they were pun- 
ished by peaceable and law-abiding citizens. They took the 
law in their hands and we were forced to do the same." 

For several days after the wholesale killing, Italians held 
indignation meetings throughout the country, and it was 
thought for a time that international complications would arise. 

On April 3, the grand jury of New Orleans indicted 
two of the trial jurors in the Hennessey murder case on the 
charge of accepting bribes, and Dominick O'Malley, a private 
detective, Thomas McCrystal and four others were indicted 
for attempting to bribe jurymen. McCrystal made a con- 
fession in which he implicated O'Malley, but as his statememt 
could not be corroborated, the charge against O'Malley was 
dismissed. McCrystal pleaded guilty. 

No action was ever taken against those who participated 
in the killing of the Italian prisoners, but President Har rison's 
attention was called to the occurrence by representa cives of 
the Italian government, and after a complete investi^j^ation of 
the matter, 125,000 francs was offered as an indemnity by 
the American government and accepted by the Itali an govern- 
ment. This money was paid from a special fund carried in 
the Diplomatic Appropriation Bill, and was delivered to the 
heirs of the men killed. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 447 


(From Detective Frank Geyer's History.) 

Herman W. Mudgett was born in Gilmantown, N. H., on 
May 16, 1860, but spent his boyhood days on a farm near 
Burlington, Vt. 

He was extremely bright, ambitious and studious, and at 
the age of sixteen years he became a school teacher. 

On July 4, 1878, at the age of eighteen, he married Clara 
A. Lovering at Alton, N. H., and about this time he gave up 
his position as a school teacher to enable him to take a course 
in a medical school at Burlington, Vt. 

A year later he finished his course at this school and 
then went to Ann Arbor College, Michigan, to complete his 

In 1881, Mudgett gained possession of a body that bore 
a remarkable resemblance to a fellow student who was his 
closest friend and who had taken out a life insurance policy 
for $1,000 a short time previously, in which Mudgett was 
named as beneficiary. 

This put an idea into the heads of the two students. 
They surreptitiously placed this body in the bed of Mudgett's 
friend, who immediately disappeared. 

There was evidently little or no investigation made re- 
garding the case, as Mudgett collected the insurance without 
trouble, and presumably divided it with his "dead" chum. 

Shortly after this Mudgett left college, and under the 
name of Holmes procured a position at an insane asylum 
in Norristown, Pa. 

After six months he left this position and proceeded to 
Philadelphia, where he procured employment as a drug clerk. 

He next went to Chicago, where he opened a drug store 
of his own. Continuing to use the name of Holmes he mar- 

44^ Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ried Miss Myrta Belknap, in Chicago, on January 28, 1887, 
thus committing bigamy. 

On January 17, 1894, under the name of Howard, he 
again married in Denver, Miss Georgie Yoke, of St. Louis, 
being the victim. 

Before marrying Miss Yoke, Holmes traveled about the 
country under numerous assumed names, engaging in various 
enterprises, none of which would bear investigation. He ac- 
cumulated considerable money and constructed a four-story 
building at the corner of Sixty-third and Wallace streets in 
Chicago, which was known as "Holmes Castle." 

About 1889 Holmes met Benjamin F. Pitezel in Chicago, 
who was afterward suspected of being Holmes' partner in 
many crimes. 

At that time Pitezel's family, consisting of a wife and 
four small children, named Dessie, Alice, Nellie and Howard, 
lived in St. Louis. 

Holmes was a man of medium height and build. He was 
immaculate in appearance, suave in manners and as this 
narrative will show, fiendish in disposition. 

Pitezel was a mesmeric subject, and Holmes, being pos- 
sessed of hypnotic powers, discovered this fact, and there- 
after Pitezel was so much clay in his hands. 

On November 9, 1893, Pitezel took out a $10,000 life 
insurance policy from the Fidelity Mutual Life Association 
of Philadelphia, which was made payable to his wife. 

Holmes, knowing this, suggested to Pitezel and his wife 
that Pitezel go to Philadelphia, and under the assumeed name 
of B. F. Perry, open up an office and put up a sign "Patents 
Bought and Sold." 

Holmes stated that he would then institute a search 
among hospitals or medical colleges and find a body having 
features and physique similar to Pitezel. The body would 
be surreptitiously placed in the establishment and laid in such 
a position as to so clearly indicate that death had resulted 
from an accidental explosion that no questions would be asked. 
Pitezel would disappear and Mrs. Pitezel's fourteen-year-old 
daughter, Alice, would journey to Philadelphia and identify 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 449 

the remains as those of her father. The insurance money 
would be paid without question, and then Pitezel would 
quietly return to his family. Mrs. Pitezel offered strenuous 
objections to the plan, but Holmes commanded Pitezel to do 
his bidding, and the result was that on August 17, 1894, 
Pitezel opened his office at 1316 Callowhill street and put out 
his sign as directed. 

On June 15, 1894, while Holmes, then known as Howard, 
was in St. Louis arranging details for his latest scheme, he 
purchased a drug store, upon which he gave a mortgage. 
Shortly afterward he sold this mortgaged property, and on 
July 19 he was arrested on a charge of obtaining money by 
false pretenses in connection with this sale. 

While in jail he met Marion Hedgspeth, who, with three 
others, robbed a train near St. Louis in 1891, and was cap- 
tured in San Francisco. (See history of Marion Hedgspeth.) 
Holmes asked Hedgspeth if he knew of any slick lawyer. 

The train robber recommended him to J. D. Howe, of 
St. Louis, and Holmes then foolishly unfolded his whole 
scheme in regard to Pitezel, to Hedgspeth, and told him that 
he would give him $500 for his services if the plan worked. 

On July 31 Holmes was released on bail furnished by 
his third "wife." A few days after being released he pro- 
ceeded to Philadelphia, where he met Pitezel, alias Perry, and 
on August 17, the day on which the latter opened his office 
in Callowhill street. Holmes accompanied him to a second- 
hand furniture store located at 1037 Buttonwood street, and 
assisted him in selecting furniture. 

On August 22 a carpenter named Eugene Smith, who 
was of an inventive turn of mind, passed this office, and be- 
ing attracted by the sign, stepped in to discuss the merits 
of a set-saw he had invented and desired to put on the market. 
"Perry" listened attentively to his description of the inven- 
tion and asked him to bring a model the next day. Smith 
complied with the request, and after an examination of it. 
Perry predicted heavy sales. 

On Monday, September 3, Smith called to ascertain how 
his device was selling. "Perry" was not in the office, but his 


450 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

hat and coat were there, and Smith, believing he had stepped 
out for a few moments, waited until he became impatient and 
left. He returned the next day and again saw no one, but 
observed that the coat and hat were in the same position. 
He then made inquiry in the neighborhood and learned that 
"Perry" had not been seen since Saturday. 

His suspicions being aroused he decided to investigate. 
As "Perry" occupied both floors of the small two-story build- 
ing, Smith proceeded upstairs, and in a back room he found 
the mutilated body of Perry. The breast and side of the face 
were badly burned ; fragments of a large bottle were found 
near the corpse, and a tobacco pipe and burned match were 
also found. 

The body was removed to the morgue, and after lying 
there until September 13 without being claimed, it was buried 
in the potter's field. 

On September 19 Attorney Howe called on Mrs. Pitezel 
in St. Louis and informed her that her husband was dead, 
and requested that the fourteen-year-old daughter Alice ac- 
company him to Philadelphia for the purpose of identifying 
the remains. Mrs. Pitezel then signed a paper prepared by 
Howe, which gave him power of attorney to collect the money, 
and he left with Alice, Mrs. Pitezel believing that the child 
would be instructed to identify the body of a stranger and 
that her husband was alive and well. 

On September 21 Howe, Alice, Holmes and Smith, who 
discovered the body, called at the Philadelphia office of the 
insurance company, and after Smith was interrogated the 
party proceeded with the insurance officials to disinter the 
remains. Holmes explained that he was a close friend of the 
Pitezel family and knew that Pitezel was located at 1316 
Callowhill street, under the assumed name of Perry, because 
of financial troubles in Fort Worth. 

When the body was exposed, Alice Pitezel and Holmes 
immediately identified the remains as those of Pitezel. While 
the cause of Pitezel's death was not perfectly clear to the 
insurance officials, they concluded that the large bottle which 
was found broken by his side contained some inflammable 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 451 

substance which exploded as the victim was evidently in 
the act of lighting his pipe. 

Against this theory it was argued that the body reclined 
in a peaceful attitude and the stomach when opened gave 
forth a distinct odor of chloroform. 

At any rate, the insurance money was paid to Howe, 
who proceeded to St. Louis and paid Mrs. Pitezel the $10,000, 
less $2,800 deducted for expenses. 

As Alice did not accompany Howe, Mrs. Pitezel anxiously 
inquired as to her whereabouts, but the attorney assured her 
that Holmes would see that she was well provided for. A few 
days after this Holmes visited Mrs. Pitezel, who begged 
piteously to be taken forthwith to her husband and child. 

Holmes told her that she must be patient, as the insur- 
ance officials were suspicious of the entire transaction and that 
he considered it advisable for the family to remain separated 
for the present ; in fact, he stated that he had come to get the 
two smaller children, Nellie and Howard, and take them to 
Covington, Ky., where a nice old lady was caring for Alice. 

Mrs. Pitezel made strenuous objections to this plan, but 
after some argument Holmes persuaded her to consent to 
their going. 

The monster then produced a note on which he stated that 
he and Mr. Pitezel had obtained $16,000 from Attorney Sam- 
uels in Fort Worth, and in order to save their property there 
a portion of the amount must be forwarded immediately. 

In this manner he obtained $7,000 from her, and after 
instructing her to proceed to the home of her parents in 
Galva, 111., he departed on September 28 with the two children, 
after promising that the entire family would be reunited at 
the earliest possible moment. 

At this time Alice was in the keeping of a lady in Cov- 
ington, Ky., and at Holmes' request she wrote a cheerful 
letter to her mother in which she spoke of the kind treatment 
accorded her. This greatly increased Mrs. Pitezel's confidence 
in Holmes, and she ceased to regret parting with the other 
two children. 

Immediately after the letter was forwarded, Holmes had 

452 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Alice meet him and the other two children in Indianapolis, 
and from thence they journeyed to Cincinnati. 

He left Cincinnati on October 1 with the three children 
and proceeded to Indianapolis, where he put the children in 
the Circle Hotel and then met Miss Yoke and stopped with 
her at another hotel in the neighborhood. This lady be- 
lieved herself to be Holmes' lawful wife and knew nothing 
of his misdeeds. 

lie represented that he was endeavoring to place a patent 
copier on the market with which he expected to make a for- 
tune, and that his mysterious journeys were in connection 
with this business. He planned so that Miss Yoke never met 
the children. 

The next day Holmes took Alice and Nellie to Detroit, but 
little Howard had mysteriously disappeared. Holmes wrote 
for Mrs. Pitezel to bring the baby and Dessie to Detroit, 
where they were to meet Mr. Pitezel. Holmes and his "wife" 
stopped at one hotel, the two girls at another, and when Mrs. 
Pitezel arrived she stopped at Geis's hotel, a very short dis- 
tance from the New Western, where Alice and Nellie were 
staying, under the name of Canning, that being the name of 
their grandparents. 

Holmes instructed the children to remain in their room, 
and when he met Mrs. Pitezel he stated that an investigation 
had been instituted and he deemed it necessary to delay the 
reunion of the family. As to the investigation. Holmes un- 
consciously spoke the truth. 

It will be recalled that he promised to pay Marion Hedg- 
speth $500 if the insurance swindle was consummated, but as 
time rolled by and Marion saw nothing of the money, he de- 
cided to turn informer for two reasons: First, to get re- 
venge, and second, to gain the good will of those who 
might be able to assist him. So on October 9 he wrote 
a letter to Chief of Police Harrigan, of St. Louis, wherein 
he exposed the entire scheme, but of course he did not 
believe that Pitezel was dead. 

On October 18 Holmes took his "wife" and Nellie and 
Alice Pitezel to Toronto, Canada, he and his wife stopping at 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 453 

the Walker House under the name of Howell, and the chil- 
dren were registered at the Albion under the name of Canning, 
as in Detroit. 

Mrs. Pitezel was instructed by Holmes to leave on Oc- 
tober 19 for Toronto, with Dessie and the baby, and if he 
deemed it safe she could there join the remainder of the 
family. By this time the poor woman was almost insane from 
grief, as she began to fear the worst. She asked Holmes to 
allow her husband to write to her, but he stated that the 
authorities might intercept the letters. 

Holmes called on Mrs. Pitezel in Toronto and told her it 
was impossible to reunite the family at that time, and he sent 
her with Dessie and the baby, Wharton, to Ogdensburg, N. Y., 
and thence to Burlington, Vt., where Holmes rented a house 
ait 26 Winooski avenue, where he intended to murder the re- 
mainder of the family, but fortunately the opportunity did 
not present itself. (After the family left this house a large 
bottle of chloroform was found in the cellar, where it had 
been left by Holmes.) 

The mother now began to lose hope of ever seeing her 
husband and three children again, and she finally returned to 
her relatives in Galva, 111. 

Pleading urgent business. Holmes left Miss Yoke about 
November 1 and went to Gilmantown, where he remained 
with his legal wife until November 17, when he went to Bos- 
ton. The detectives got on his trail while he was at his old 
home and traced him to Boston, where he was arrested 
on November 19. His effects were searched, and several let- 
ters were found which had been written by the Pitezel chil- 
dren to their mother. 

Holmes believed that the authorities either suspected him 
of having substituted a body, falsely claiming it was Pitezel's, 
or wanted him for horse stealing in Texas. 

Having in mind the manner in which horse thieves were 
frequently punished in Texas he immediately stated that he 
had defrauded the insurance company by swearing the body 
found in Callowhill street was Pitezel's, when, as a matter of 
fact, he stated, Pitezel had left America with his three children. 

454 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

He expressed a willingness to return to Philadelphia and 
plead guilty to the insurance swindle charge, providing he 
was not turned over to the Texas authorities. As he made 
a statement in which he claimed Mrs. Pitezel was a party to 
the fraud, she was arrested and brought to Boston with 
Dessie and the baby. Mrs. Pitezel was subjected to a severe 
cross-examination, but at its conclusion the authorities were 
convinced that she was innocent. However, on November 19 
Mrs. Pitezel and Holmes were taken to Philadelphia as 
prisoners, the two children and Miss Yoke accompanying the 
party. It was June 3, 1895, before Holmes was brought to 
trial for defrauding the insurance company. He willingly 
pleaded guilty. 

At this time several months had elapsed since either Pite- 
zel or his three children had been heard from, and the au- 
thorities were becoming convinced that Holmes was guilty of 
far worse crimes than defrauding an insurance company by 
substituting a body. They strongly suspected that he was 
guilty of at least four murders. 

As Pitezel was suspected of having an intimate knowl- 
edge of Holmes' criminal career, it can be seen that his de- 
sire to permanently seal Pitezel's lips was only equaled by his 
desire to obtain the bulk of his life insurance. Mrs. Pitezel 
would eventually realize this, and if her husband was not 
returned to her she would inform the authorities, with the 
result that the body in the potter's field would be subjected 
to a closer examination, which would mean that Holmes would 
probably be charged with the murder of Pitezel. 

The older children were probably informed by their 
mother of the insurance swindle and were assured that their 
father would return, and of course children talk. The officers 
assumed that Holmes realized all this and that he decided 
that his safety was assured only after the entire family was 
disposed of. He could not hope to kill six people at once 
without being detected, so he decided to separate them and 
murder them one by one. 

On December 27, 1894, Holmes made another statement 
substantially as follows: 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 455 

"I regret that I have made false statements in the past, 
but the following are the facts: 

"While Pitezel was at 1316 Callowhill street he drank 
very heavily, and I took him to task about it. He appeared 
to be despondent and said that he had better drink enough to 
kill himself and have done with it all. The next morning I 
visited his place, and using a key I entered the building. I 
found a letter addressed to me, which I destroyed, in which he 
said I would find his body upstairs. I went upstairs and 
found him lying dead on the floor. There was a rubber tube 
in his mouth which was attached to a quill run through a cork 
in a large bottle containing chloroform. 

"I had arranged with Pitezel that the body substituted 
for his should be burned about the face and hands by pouring 
a mixture of benzine, chloroform and ammonia on it and then 
setting it on fire; that a large bottle was then to be broken 
and a smoking pipe and burned match placed nearby; the ob- 
ject being to show that the person supposed to be Pitezel or 
Perry, had actually ignited the mixture in the bottle while 
lighting the pipe, and that the bottle exploded and death was 
caused by the burns. Seeing Pitezel's body, I decided to 
carry out this plan in all its details. The three children are 
now in Europe in the custody of Miss Minnie Williams, for- 
merly of Fort Worth, Texas." 

It was easily proved that Holmes told the truth regard- 
ing the identity of the dead man found in Callowhill street, 
but the remainder of the statement was not believed. 

It was now clear that Holmes was not guilty of substitut- 
ing a body, and action regarding that case was postponed, 
pending a further search for the missing children. 

The District Attorney then looked about for a detective 
possessed of sufficient ability and determination to undertake 
this gigantic task, and he decided upon Frank Geyer, of the 
Philadelphia Police Department. 

As eight months had elapsed since the children were last 
seen, and as it was probable that persons who had seen them 
had forgotten their faces, it can be readily understood that 

45^ Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

the obstacles confronting this officer were apparently insur- 

On June 26, 1895, he started out with photographs of 
Holmes and the three children. 

He proceeded to Cincinnati and began visiting the hotels. 
When he reached the Hotel Bristol at Sixth and Vine streets, 
the clerk identified the pictures as those of a man and three 
children who registered under the name of Cook. 

It was the detective's theory that Holmes had murdered 
the children in some house in the suburbs of some city, so he 
began to make rounds of the real estate offices, both in 
the city and in the suburbs. When he arrived at the office 
of J. C. Thomas, at 15 East Third street, the clerk recognized 
the picture of Holmes and Howard Pitezel, and it was learned 
that Holmes had rented a house at 305 Poplar street, where 
he only remained two days. Geyer proceeded there and in- 
terviewed a Miss Hill who resided next door. 

She saw Holmes moving an immense stove into the house, 
but no furniture. 

The singular incident so impressed her that she uncon- 
sciously watched the proceeding very closely. Holmes ob- 
served this and decided to change his plans, but before leaving 
the house with Howard he offered the stove to the "inquisi- 
tive" lady. 

Geyer then proceeded to Indianapolis and visited the 
hotels and real estate offices. He gathered valuable mforma- 
tion as to the route taken by the children from the letters 
which they wrote to their mother, but which Holmes withheld 
and foolishly kept in his possession. 

Here Mr. Herman Ackelow was located, and he at once 
identified the pictures of the children as those of guests who 
stopped with him when he conducted the Circle House. He 
alsp stated that the children were held in their room practically 
as prisoners, and although they were constantly crying, they 
refused to state the cause of their grief. In a letter written 
by Alice to her mother just after they left Indianapolis, and 
which was found in Holmes' pocket when arrested, the girl 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 457 

innocently remarked that "Howard" (meaning her brother) 
"is not with us now." 

This convinced Geyer that the child had been murdered in 
or near Indianapolis, but he failed to obtain any clew at that 
time upon which to work. 

The detective then proceeded to "Holmes Castle" in Chi- 
cago, but he learned nothing there regarding the Pitezel chil- 
dren. He then proceeded to Detroit and found that on Oc- 
tober 12 Nellie and Alice Pitezel were registered at the New 
Western Hotel, but neither Howard nor the trunk were seen 

Thinking that Holmes might have had Howard and the 
trunk with him, Geyer proceeded to learn where Holmes 
stopped, and found that he and Miss Yoke were registered 
as "G. Howell and wife" at the Normandie, but as neither the 
boy nor the trunk were seen at this place the detective became 
more convinced than ever as to where little Howard met his 
fate. But intent on tracing the girls first, Geyer proceeded 
to Toronto, Canada, where Mrs. Pitezel next met Holmes. 

He arrived on Monday, July 8, and found that Holmes 
and Miss Yoke registered on October 18, 1894, at the Walker 
House, under the name of Howell and wife, and that the 
children were registered at the Albion Hotel under the name 
of Canning. Herbert Jones, the chief clerk of this hotel, 
stated that on October 25 Holmes called for the children, paid 
their bill and they were never seen again. 

As it was known that Holmes went to his first wife in 
Gilmantown a few days after this, Geyer became convinced 
that the fiend had rented a house in Toronto for the purpose 
of murdering the two girls. 

He prepared a list of all real estate agents and had 
the newspapers publish the pictures of the children and print 
his theories. 

He then began a canvas of the real estate offices, which 
lasted for days, but nothing was accomplished. Finally Greyer 
learned that a Mrs. Frank Nudel had rented a house at No. 
16 Vincent street, in October, 1894, to a man who only re- 
mained there a few days and acted quite mysteriously. Hie 

458 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

immediately proceeded to the house, but when he reached 
the house located at No. 18 Vincent street he showed the 
pictures of Holmes and Alice to Mr. Thomas Ryves, who re- 
sided there, and that gentleman instantly recognized them as 
the photographs of a man and girl who were at the house 
next door for a day and then disappeared. 

Mr. Ryves furthermore stated that this man borrowed a 
spade from him, saying he wanted to plant some potatoes. 

On receiving this information Geyer hurried to the home 
of Mrs. Nudel, and when he showed the lady and her daughter 
Holmes' picture and asked them if they had ever seen the 
man, they instantly replied that it was the picture of the man 
who rented their Vincent street property. Geyer's enthusiasm 
now knew no bounds. He rushed back to No. 18 Vincent street 
and borrowing the same shovel Holmes had used, proceeded to 
the next house. No. 16, where a family named Armbrust was 
then living. 

After hurriedly making known his mission the lady told 
him to proceed with his investigation. 

He examined the house, and on raising the linoleum in 
the kitchen he discovered a trap door which led to a dark 

He procured a light, and after examining the ground he 
found a spot which appeared to have been recently disturbed. 
He had only been digging a minute or two when a terrible 
odor arose which became more horrible with each shovelful 
of dirt removed. He finally unearthed what was apparently 
the arm of a child, but as the flesh fell from the bones he de- 
cided that great caution would be necessary or the bodies 
would fall to pieces. So Undertaker Humphreys was called in 
and the digging proceeded, with the result that the terribly 
decomposed bodies of Nellie and Alice Pitezel were found. 

While the features of the children could not be recog- 
nized, the clothing and hair were readily identified by the 
heartbroken mother, who started for Toronto as soon as she 
was advised of the discovery. To make "assurance doubly 
sure," Geyer located a family named McDonald, who moved 
into the house after Holmes left, and they found a wooden 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 459 

egg, from which, when parted in the middle, a littk "snake" 
would spring out, Mrs. Pitezel recognized this as a toy she 
had purchased for her little girls. 

These bodies were entirely nude when found, and the 
clothing spoken of above was taken from the dead children 
by Holmes and stuffed up in the chimney in the parlor with 
some straw and set on fire, but as they did not burn, the chim- 
ney was left in a clogged condition, and Mrs. Armbrust on ex- 
amining it found the clothes and fortunately did not dispose 
of them. 

It is perhaps needless to say that Holmes' object in re- 
moving and destroying the clothes was to prevent the bodies 
from being identified. 

On July 19, after the burial of the Pitezel children in 
Toronto, Geyer proceeded to Detroit, where he learned that 
Holmes had rented a house at 241 East Forest avenue, and 
an investigation showed that he had dug a grave in the eel* 
lar, but before he had an opportunity to complete his work 
information reached him that detectives were on his trail, and 
he abandoned his plans for the time being. 

Geyer left Detroit on July 23 and returned to Indianapolis 
to search for little Howard Pitezel's body. 

For days and days he made a tireless round of the real 
estate offices both in the city and for miles out into the suburbs. 

On August 1 he went to Chicago, as a child's skeleton 
had been found at "Holmes Castle," but Geyer became con- 
vinced that this was the remains of some other unfortunate 
child, and in a few days he returned to Indianapolis. The 
search now included all the small towns within a radius of 
several miles from the city. After nearly a month's work no 
place remained unsearched but the pretty little town of Irving- 
ton, about six miles from Indianapolis. In this town Mr. 
Geyer, who was now almost exhausted, wearily made his way 
to the real estate office of an elderly man named Brown. After 
relating his story and showing his pictures hundreds of times, 
after weeks of fruitless labor and nights of restless sleep, Geyer 
again related his story and showed his pictures of Holmes. 

The old man adjusted his glasses and finally remarked 

460 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

that it was the picture of a man who rented a house from 
him in October, 1894. 

As the house belonged to a Dr. Thompson, who had seen 
the tenant, Geyer, who had now taken a new lease of life, 
hurried to him, and the doctor not only identified the picture 
as a likeness of his tenant, but told the detective that a boy 
in his employ named Elvet Moorman had seen this man with 
a boy at the house. 

When interviewed Elvet immediately identified the pic- 
tures of Holmes and little Howard. 

He stated that his duty compelled him to go and milk a 
cow every afternoon, which was kept in a lot in the rear of 
the house Holmes rented, and that while so engaged Holmes 
asked him to help him put up a stove when he had finished 

The boy complied with the request, and while assisting 
Holmes he asked him why he did not use a gas stove instead 
of a coal stove, and Holmes replied that "gas was not healthy 
for children." Little Howard was present when this remark 
was made. 

Geyer then proceeded to the vacant cottage, which was 
across the street from a Methodist church. He searched the 
house from cellar to roof and discovered nothing. He then 
looked through the lattice work between the piazza floor and 
the ground and saw some pieces of an old trunk. 

He broke in after this and found that in one place on 
the remains of the trunk a piece of blue calico had been pasted, 
and on this calico was the figure of a flower. As the earth 
appeared to have been disturbed Geyer beg^n digging with a 
vengeance, but all in vain. 

He then proceeded to the barn, and there found an im- 
mense coal stove. As it was growing late Geyer quit for the 
night, with the intention of resuming the search in the morn- 
ing. Mrs. Pitezel was then with her folks in Galva, III,, and 
Geyer telegraphed this query: "Did missing trunk have blue 
calico with white flower over seam on bottom?" and the an- 
swer was, "Yes." 

When Geyer left the cottage, two boys named Walter 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 461 

Jenny and Oscar Kettenbach, who knew of Geyer's mission, 
decided to "play detective." They began looking for evidence 
in the cottage and ran their busy hands into a stovepipe hole in 
the chimney in the basement. They brought out a handful of 
ashes, but in those ashes were several teeth and small pieces 
of bone. While Geyer was still in the telegraph office at 
Irvington he was informed of this discovery, and rushed back 
to the cottage. 

Procuring a hammer and chisel he tore down the lower 
part of the chimney and found almost a full set of child's 
teeth, several pieces of human bone and a large charred mass 
which proved to be a portion of a child's stomach, liver and 
spleen, baked hard. 

The corner grocer then came forward and announced 
that the boy, whose picture Geyer showed him, came to his 
store in October and left his coat there, saying that he would 
call for it, but never returned. 

Mrs. Pitezel was again sent for and she identified the coat 
as one belonging to little Howard. 

Geyer then located Albert Schififling, who conducted a 
shop at 48 Virginia avenue, Indianapolis, and he stated that 
on October 3 Holmes, accompanied by little Howard, called on 
him and left some surgical instruments to be sharpened. But 
the child little realized that they were being sharpened for 
the purpose of dismembering his body so that it could be 
cremated in the stove afterward set up. 

A coroner's jury, after hearing the evidence, had no hesi- 
tancy in rendering a verdict to the effect that Howard Pitezel 
was murdered by Holmes. 

On September 1, 1895, Detective Geyer returned to Phila- 
delphia, and after being congratulated on all sides for unravel- 
ing one of the greatest mysteries in criminal history in 
America, he proceeded to bring the archfiend to justice. 

Holmes having been indicted for the murder of Benjamin 
Pitezel, the trial was set for October 28. While Detective 
Geyer was engaged in locating missing members of the Pitezel 
family, the authorities in Chicago, Fort Worth, Texas, and 

462 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

numerous other cities were investigating Holmes' career pre- 
vious to the death of Pitezel, 

When the officials inspected "Holmes Castle" at Sixty- 
third and Wallace streets in Chicago, they were astounded at 
the elaborate preparations made by this criminal to trap his 
victims and dispose of their remains right in the heart of a 
great city. 

This structure was a four-story brick building covering 
a lot about 50x120 feet. The lower floor was occupied by 
stores, a drug store being on the corner; the outside rooms 
of the three upper stories having square bay windows and 
were arranged into apartments and offices, with the exception 
of that part used by Holmes in connection with his human 
slaughter-house. His rooms were on the second floor, and in 
his office was a vault from which neither air nor sound could 
escape when the door was closed. 

From his bathroom, which had no windows and no means 
of lighting, unless an artificial light was brought in, was 
a secret stairway leading to the basement, and in order to 
reach this stairway the rug in the bathroom was raised, and 
there was found a trap door. The laboratory on the third 
floor was connected with the cellar in a similar manner. There 
was no other means of reaching this particular part of the 
cellar except by these secret stairs. 

In this cellar was a large grate with a removable iron 
covering in front, and under this grate was a large firebox. 
In an ashpile in the corner several small pieces of burned 
human bone were found, and in the center of the room was 
a long dissecting table, upon which was found blood and in- 
dentures from surgical instruments. 

On July 24, 1895, Detectives Fitzpatrick and Norton, of 
the Chicago police, began a systematic search for evidence 
of crime committed by Holmes in this building. They dug 
up the cellar, and buried in quicklime they found seventeen 
ribs, three sections of vertebrae of the spinal column and sev- 
eral teeth attached to the upper portion of a jaw bone. A part 
of a child's cape coat, which was decayed and lime-eaten, and 
a woman's garment thoroughly saturated with blood and brown 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 463 

with age were also found. These discoveries were all taken to 
Dr. C. P. Stingfield, and after a microscopical examination he 
declared that the stains on the woman's garment were human 
blood and that the bones were portions of the anatomy of 
children from eight to fourteen years of age. In one of his 
numerous statements Holmes claimed that the Pitezel chil- 
dren had gone to Europe in care of a Miss Minnie Williams. 
This resulted in an investigation as to the identity of Miss 
Williams, and also resulted in two more murders being charged 
to Holmes. 

Miss Williams entered Holmes' employ as a stenographer 
in 1893. At this time he was at the head of the so-called 
"Campbell Yates Manufacturing Company," with "offices" in 
the castle. 

Learning that she and her sister, Nettie, owned a valuable 
piece of land in Fort Worth, Texas, he professed love to Miss 
Minnie, and it is said that they lived as man and wife in the 
castle. In the later part of 1893 Minnie, at Holmes' request, 
wrote to Nettie that she was about to be married, and re- 
quested Nettie, who was a teacher in an academy at Fort 
Worth, to proceed to Chicago at once to attend the wedding. 

Nettie arrived in Chicago shortly afterward, but within 
a short time both girls mysteriously disappeared and were 
never seen again. 

In February, 1894, Pitezel, under the name of Lyman, 
proceeded to Fort Worth from Chicago and placed a deed on 
record from one Bond to Lyman for a valuable piece of 
ground at Second and Rusk streets. 

"Bond" was supposed to have obtained the title from 
Minnie Williams. On this property "Lyman" began erecting 
a building, and shortly afterward, Holmes/ alias "Pratt," ap- 
peared on the scene. 

Their business affairs became badly muddled and they 
left town before the building was completed, but not before 
Holmes stole a horse and engaged in numerous other shady 

On July 19, 1895, the police made another search of the 
Castle and found more charred bones, several metal buttons 

464 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

and part of a watch chain. C. E. Davis, who formerly con- 
ducted a jewelry store in the Castle, identified the watch chain 
as belonging to Minnie Williams, and also stated that he re- 
paired it on two occasions. He furthermore stated that he 
had seen Minnie Williams wearing a dress on which were 
buttons similar to those found. 

On August 4 Detective Fitzpatrick found Minnie Williams' 
trunk in Janitor Pat. Quinlan's room in the Castle, a clumsy 
effort having been made to paint over her initials on the 

When confronted with this evidence Holmes denied hav- 
ing killed the Williams girls, but he related a weird tale about 
Minnie attacking and killing her sister Nettie, and to protect 
Minnie, whom he claimed to love, he advised her to go to 
Europe, and he carried Nettie's body to the lake and sank it. 

In 1880 I. L. Connor, a jeweler, married a beautiful 
eighteen-year-old girl named Smythe, in Davenport, Iowa. 
About one year afterward a little daughter was bom. This 
child was named Gertrude. In 1889 Connor moved with his 
family to Chicago and he obtained employment in Holmes' 
drug store, which was located in the Castle. 

Mrs. Connor was still a beautiful woman, and being pos- 
sessed of considerable business ability, Holmes consulted with 
her about several of his schemes, and they became quite con- 
fidential. Differences arose between Connor and his wife, 
with the result that he left, but Mrs. Connor and Gertrude re- 
mained at Holmes Castle. 

In 1892 both Mrs. Connor and Gertrude disappeared. 
While in prison in Philadelphia, Holmes was interrogated as 
to their fate, and he stated that Mrs. Connor died from an 
operation, but that he did not know what became of Gertrude. 

On August 2, 1895, some of Mrs. Connor's wearing ap- 
parel was found in the castle and identified by her husband. 
On this same day Janitor Pat. Quinlan and his wife con- 
fessed that they saw the dead body of Mrs. Connor in the 
Castle. On July 22, 1895, A. Minier, a nephew of Mrs. Con- 
nor, swore to a warrant charging Holmes with her murder. 

Her father, A. Smythe, produced a letter supposed to 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 465 

have been written by her in November, 1892, wherein she 
stated that she contemplated going to St. Louis. Smythe 
stated that the writing was a poor imitation of his daughter's 

In 1892 Holmes was president of the A. B. C. Copying 
Company, which also had offices in the Castle, and Miss 
Emily Cigrand was employed by him as a stenographer. 
She was formerly employed in a similar capacity at the 
hospital at Dwight, 111., where Pitezel, under the name of 
Phelps, was being treated for a time. • She was dismissed 
from this position and Pitezel recommended her to Holmes. 

She and Holmes became very intimate, and were known 
as Mr. and Mrs. Gordon where they had apartments near 
the corner of Ashland avenue and West Madison street. 
Miss Cigrand made a practice of writing several times a 
week to her parents, who resided in Oxford, Ind., but after 
December 6, 1892, they never heard from her again. 

Holmes was suspected of having murdered several other 
persons with whom he had business dealings and who 
suddenly disappeared, but as the evidence against him in 
these cases is by no means conclusive, no details are given. 

On July 28 Charles M. Chappell, of 100 Twenty-ninth 
street, Chicago, reported to Lieutenant Thomas, of the 
Cottage Grove Station, that he worked for Holmes as a 
"handy man" during the summer of 1892. On October 1 
Holmes asked him if he could mount a skeleton. Chappell 
said he thought he could, and Holmes gave him the skeleton 
of a man to mount, and when the work was completed 
Holmes paid him $36. 

In January, 1893, Chappell was given another skeleton 
of a man to mount. When Holmes first showed him the 
body it was in the laboratory and there was considerable 
flesh on it. As Holmes had a set of surgical instruments 
and a tank filled with fluid for removing the flesh and ap- 
parently made no attempt to conceal anything from him, 
Chappell thought he was doing the work for some medical 

466 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

In June, 1893, Holmes gave Chappell another skeleton 
to mount, but as he never called for it Chappell turned it 
over to the police on the day he made these disclosures. 

On October 28, 1895, the trial of Holmes for the mur- 
der of Benjamin Pitezel began in Philadelphia. The work 
of selecting jurors had hardly begun when Holmes had 
a misunderstanding with his attorneys and they temporarily 
withdrew from the case. Holmes personally conducted the 
examination during their absence. 

It was the theory of the prosecution that Holmes 
chloroformed Pitezel while the latter was either asleep or 
intoxicated. Three physicians testified that the death was 
caused by chloroform poisoning. 

Mrs. Pitezel, who had become a physical wreck, identi- 
fied a photograph as the picture of her deceased husband, 
and also identified the clothing removed from the body in 
the potter's field as having belonged to Mr. Pitezel. She 
then testified at length regarding the insurance swindle 
conspiracy, and repeated the many conversations she had 
with Holmes regarding the whereabouts of her husband. 
To show that Pitezel was not contemplating suicide, as claimed 
by Holmes, Mrs. Pitezel produced a letter written by her hus- 
band some days previous to his demise, in which he expressed 
his intention to have his family join him in Philadelphia at an 
early date. 

Several persons who knew Pitezel as "Perry" when 
he kept the place at 1316 Callowhill street, identified the 
picture of Pitezel as the photograph of Perry. Many of 
them saw the corpse and stated that the remains were those 
of the man they knew as Perry. Several of these wit- 
nesses also testified that "Perry" was last seen alive at 
10:30 p. m. on Saturday, September 1, 1894, when he visited 
a neighboring saloon to purchase a supply of whisky to 
last him over Sunday, the Excise law preventing the sale 
of liquor on Sunday. 

Eugene Smith, who placed the patent set-saw with 
Perry, testified to finding the body on the following Tues- 
day, and experts testified that the condition of the body 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 467 

indicated that the man was dead at least two days. This 
would mean that he died on Sunday. 

Miss Yoke, who had believed she was Holmes' (or 
Howard's) legal wife, testified that she and Holmes were at 
this time living at 1905 North Eleventh street. That on 
Saturday evening a man called to see Mr. Holmes and that 
Holmes informed her that he was a prominent railroad man 
who was about to leave a large order for his patent copier, 
but that Holmes afterward admitted the man was Pitezel. 
She also stated that Holmes left their apartments at 10:30 
a. m. Sunday, and did not return until 4 :30 p. m., at which 
time his excited and overheated condition attracted her 

They hurriedly packed their belongings and left that night 
for Indianapolis, remaining there but a few days and then 
proceeding to St. Louis, where Holmes called on Mrs. Pitezel. 
It was proved that on August 9, 1894, Holmes telegraphed 
$157.50 to the Chicago office of the Fidelity Mutual Life Asso- 
ciation, to pay the half-yearly premium on Pitezel's policy. No 
witnesses were called for the defense. 

In charging the jury. Judge Arnold, in commenting on 
Holmes' absolute power over Pitezel, said : 

"Truth is stranger than fiction, and if Mrs. Pitezel's 
story is true it is the most wonderful exhibition of the power 
of mind over mind I have ever seen, and stranger than any 
novel I ever read." 

On November 2, 1895, the case was submitted to the 
jury, and after deliberating a short time a verdict of guilty 
was returned. 

On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged in Moyammensing 
prison, Philadelphia. He assumed an air of utter indif- 
ference to the end. Some days before his death, when it 
was evident that all hope had vanished, Holmes made a 
"confession," wherein he admitted that he had killed twenty- 
seven persons, but on the scaffold he contradicted this 
statement and claimed that the only persons for whose 
death he was either directly or indirectly responsible, were 
two women upon whom he performed criminal operations. 

468 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On the night of November 30, 1891, two masked men 
boarded the "Frisco" Express train as it was leaving St. Louis, 
Mo. They remained in seclusion until they had traveled a 
few miles, and then crawling over the tender, they presented 
pistols at the heads of the engineer and fireman and ordered 
them to stop a few miles from St. Louis, where two accom- 
plices of the highwaymen were stationed. 

The engineer and fireman were then ordered from the 
cab and kept covered while the party proceeded to the express 
car, where the robbers demanded admission, but were refused 
by the messenger. The robbers then set off a stick of dyna- 
mite and blew in the side of the car, seriously injuring the 
messenger. They then entered, blew open the safe, and after 
taking $10,000, made their escape. 

The Pinkerton Detective Agency and Chief of Detectives 
Desmond of St. Louis investigated the case and gathered evi- 
dence which convinced them that the robbers were Marion 
Hedgspeth, James Francis, Dink Wilson and Adelbert Sly. 
The latter was traced to Los Angeles and arrested by Robert 

Hedgspeth was traced to San Francisco and was arrested 
at the general postoffice. It was le"arned that he was travel- 
ing under the name of H. B. Swanson, and a decoy letter was 
mailed and finally advertised. On January 14, 1892, a watch 
was set, consisting of Detectives Bryam, Whitaker and Silvey, 
and on February 10 Hedgspeth called for his mail. He was 
heavily armed and made a desperate struggle, but was over- 
powered by the officers. 

Sly and Hedgspeth were returned to St. Louis and were 
sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment. 

Francis was killed in Kansas while resisting arrest, and 












Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 469 

Wilson shot and killed Detective Harvey of Syracuse, N. Y., 
for which he was electrocuted at Sing Sing, N. Y. 

While in jail in St. Louis, Hedgspeth gained the confi- 
dence of Holmes, the "criminal of the century," and subse- 
quently rendered great assistance to the authorities. (See 
Holmes' case.) 


( From Nicolay 's History of Lincoln's life and De Witt's history 
of the assassination.) 

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in the backwoods 
of Kentucky on February 12, 1809. His father, who was ex- 
tremely poor, could not sign his own name until his wife taught 
him to do so. 

From his boyhood until he became of age, Abe spent most 
of his time at muscular labor ; the aggregate of his schooling up 
to this time hardly amounting to one year. But the hours his 
companions devoted to amusement, he devoted to his efforts 
at mental improvement. 

At the age of twenty-one he left home to become a clerk 
in a general merchandise store in a little village in Illinois 
called New Salem. 

In August, 1832, he was a candidate for Assemblyman but 
was defeated. From May 7, 1833, to May 30, 1836, he served 
as postmaster of New Salem ; at the same time acting as deputy 
surveyor. In addition to these occupations, he was elected As- 
semblyman in 1834 and was reelected in 1836, in 1838 and in 

In 1837, while serving as an Assemblyman, Lincoln moved 
to Springfield, 111., where he studied law, and at the expira- 
tion of his fourth successive term in the Legislature, he opened 
a law office in Springfield. 

In August, 1846, he was elected to Congress, where he 
served two years and then resumed his law practice in Spring- 

470 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

As is well known, Lincoln was always opposed to slavery, 
and his debates with Senator Douglas on that subject in 1854 
and 1858 made him a power in American politics. 

In 1856, the first national convention of the Republican 
party was held in Philadelphia and John Fremont of Califor- 
nia was nominated for President. Lincoln was sent as a dele- 
gate to the convention from Illinois, and without any solicita- 
tion on his part, one hundred and ten of the three hundred 
and sixty-five delegates cast their votes for him for Vice- 
President. He was a candidate for United States Senator but 
was defeated. 

At the Republican National Convention held in Chicago in 
May, 1860, Lincoln was nominated for President and on 
November 6 he was elected. He was inaugurated on March 
4, 1861, and United States Senator William H. Seward was 
appointed Secretary of State. 

As is well known, Lincoln had been President but a few 
months when the nation was plunged into one of the most 
terrible wars in history; and although nearly a million lives 
were lost and an expenditure of nearly thirty-five hundred 
million dollars was entailed, it had at length its happy con- 
summation, not only in reuniting the Union, but in abolishing 
slavery forever from the country. 

On June 7, 1864, Lincoln was again nominated for Presi- 
dent. He received 484 votes, while U. S. Grant, who had 
been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General on March 
12, 1864, and was bitterly opposed to the efforts made to array 
him in political opposition to the President, received twenty- 
two votes. 

In November, 1864, Lincoln was re-elected and Andrew 
Johnson was elected Vice-President. The inauguration oc- 
curred on March 4, 1865, and ex-Senator Seward was retained 
as Secretary of State. 

Lincoln's re-election seemed to have thoroughly disheart- 
ened a great majority of the Confederate soldiers and on April 
9, 1865, General Lee surrendered his command, which was the 
flower of the Confederate army, to General Grant. 

While General Johnson still had a large army in the 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 471 

field, the President construed Lee's surrender as the termina- 
tion of the war, as he felt confident that Johnson would see 
the folly of continuing after he learned of Lee's action, and 
that he would soon surrender to General Sherman. 

Junius Booth was born in England in 1796, and by the 
time he reached majority he was one of England's foremost 
tragedians. He was married in London in 1821 and imme- 
diately sailed with his bride to America, where he afterward 
resided. He made his first public appearance in America on 
July 6, 1821, at Richmond, Virginia. 

Although a great actor. Booth was extremely eccentric 
and in later years his mind became unbalanced by his intem- 
perate habits. In his history of the New York Tombs, War- 
den Sutton states that his predecessor, Warden Malachi Fallon, 
who was the first City Marshal of San Francisco, was a per- 
sonal friend of Booth and that frequently, when the actor be- 
came intoxicated while in New York, friends would inveigle 
him into a carriage and take him to the Tombs, where Fallon 
would take charge of him until the evening performance. 

Booth died in 1852, leaving a large family ; three of his 
sons, Edwin, Junius and John Wilkes Booth, becoming cele- 
brated actors. The latter was a strikingly handsome young 
man and was generous to a fault with his friends but it was 
soon evident that he inherited much of his father's eccentricity. 
He spent his boyhood days in Virginia and became known as 
a fanatical secessionist. He often boasted of the fact that he 
participated in the hanging of the aged John Brown, who 
attempted to free the slaves in 1859. 

In April, 1864, the new commander of the Federal army, 
General Grant, issued orders that no more Confederate pris- 
oners would be exchanged. As there were then 23,000 of 
these prisoners, the idea entered the head of John Wilkes 
Booth that President Lincoln could be kidnaped and delivered 
to the Confederates, who would then be in a position to de- 
mand either the termination of the war or the exchange of 
all the Confederate prisoners for the Commander-in-Chief of 
the Federal army. 

In September, 1864, Booth went to Baltimore, where he 

472 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

had a conference with Michael O'Laughlin and Sam Arnold, 
two of his old schoolmates who had served two years in the 
Confederate army. He explained that Lincoln detested having 
guards around him and that as he frequently walked the 
streets of Washington alone, several able-bodied men could 
overpower him, place him in a waiting closed carriage, drive 
him out of the city and land him in Richmond. 

Arnold and O'Laughlin entered enthusiastically into the 
scheme and Lincoln's re-election in November made Booth 
more determined than ever to consummate the deed. 

About November 15 he visited Charles County, Mary- 
land, for the purpose of purchasing a horse, and while there 
he met Dr. Samuel Mudd, who assisted him in buying a one- 
eyed horse from a neighbor. This animal was afterward 
placed in a livery-stable in Washington. 

On December 23, Booth met Dr. Mudd in Washington 
and requested the doctor to introduce him to a former Con- 
federate spy named John Surratt, whose mother formerly 
conducted a tavern in Surrattsville, Maryland, but had recently 
leased the same to a man named Lloyd, and she was then con- 
ducting a boarding- and lodging-house at 541 H street, in 
Washington. By a singular coincidence, Surratt, accompa- 
nied by his roommate, Louis Weichmann, appeared on the 
scene at this moment and introductions followed. After a 
general conversation the men parted and Booth went to New 
York. He returned to Washington in January and calling at 
Mrs. Surratt's lodging-house, he unfolded his scheme to young 
Surratt, who not only agreed to assist but also induced David 
Herold, a young drug clerk in Washington, and George Atzer- 
odt, a carriage-painter, to participate in the enterprise. 

Edwin Forrest began an engagement at Ford's Theater on 
January 2, 1865, and it was reported that the President would 
attend the performance on the evening of January 18. This 
put another idea into Booth's head. One of the conspirators 
would put out the lights in the theater on that night; another 
would have a closed carriage at the rear entrance, which 
Booth was well acquainted with, and the remainder would be 
stationed near Lincoln's box and when the lights were extin- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 473 

guished they would rush upon the President, gag and bind 
him, carry him out to the carriage and then to Richmond. 

The plans were discussed, but as a storm was raging on 
the 18th inst., the President did not attend the performance, 
so it was decided to arrange some other plan, as some of the 
conspirators regarded this scheme as impracticable. 

While waiting for an opportunity to present itself, Booth 
went to Baltimore and on March 1, while in that city, he 
met an old acquaintance, a big, powerful young fellow named 
Lewis Powell, alias Payne. Booth learned from this fellow 
that he had not only been wounded while serving as a Con- 
federate soldier, but that his two brothers had been killed. 
As Payne was extremely bitter against the President, Booth 
decided to invite him to assist in the work at hand, and he 
took Payne to Washington, where he was entertained at Mrs. 
Surratt's home. 

On March 16, the President was expected to attend an 
entertainment at the Soldiers' Home, which was located in 
the subt^^bs of Washington. The conspirators, Arnold, Her- 
old, O'Laughlin, Atzerodt, Payne, Surratt and Booth, decided 
that this was the day to seize the President, so they rode out 
to a secluded spot near the road, but again they were doomed 
to disappointment, as Lincoln abandoned the trip at the last 

The chagrined plotters, fearing that they had been be- 
trayed, scattered in all directions, but that night Booth and 
Payne had a conference in the room occupied by Surratt and 
Weichmann. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that 
the kidnaping plan was impracticable, and the next day this 
decision was made known to the remainder of the plotters, who 
decided to disband, although Payne, Atzerodt and Herold re- 
mained at the beck and call of Booth. 

Young Surratt was employed as a clerk for the Adams 
Express Company up to the time that the conspirators in- 
tended to drag Lincoln from the theater, but for the purpose 
of carrying out this plan, he asked for a leave of absence. 
This being refused, his mother interceded in his behalf and 
when she was refused he resigned his position. The kidnap- 

474 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

ing plot having been abandoned and Surratt being out of 
employment, he left Washington and went to Canada. 

Weichmann was a clerk in the War Office, and about the 
time the conspirators disbanded, he informed Captain D. H. 
Gleeson, U. S. A., that while he did not have the entire con- 
fidence of this gang he knew enough to convince him that 
there was a conspiracy afoot to kidnap the President. Gleeson 
evidently placed little credence in the story, as he merely told 
Weichmann to "keep his eye on them." Surratt subsequently 
claimed that Weichmann turned informer because he was re- 
fused permission to be a party to the enterprise. 

After the surrender of Lee, Booth became desperate and, 
after hearing the President make a speech which was not 
to his liking, he decided that Lincoln must die. 

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Booth made his cus- 
tomary daily call at Ford's Theater in Washington for his 
mail, and young Ford informed him that Lincoln and General 
Grant would occupy the President's box that night to witness 
a performance of "Our American Cousin." 

Booth at once decided that the time for action had ar- 
rived. His first move was to transfer the one-eyed horse which 
he had purchased with the assistance of Dr. Mudd to a stable 
in the rear of Ford's Theater. He next called on Mrs. Surratt 
and handed her a pair of field-glasses, which he requested her 
to deliver to Lloyd, who was conducting her old tavern at 
Surrattsville, which was ten miles from Washington.* 

Booth's next move was to summon Payne, Atzerodt and 
Herold for a conference. It was then decided that in order 
to paralyze the government, Lincoln, Vice-President Johnson, 
Secretary of State Seward and General Grant must be assas- 
sinated simultaneously. 

For the purpose of making their escape all of the con- 
spirators were supplied with horses. Atzerodt was detailed to 

* Lloyd afterward swore that in addition to delivering the 
field-glasses Mrs. Surratt said: "Have those shooting-irons ready, 
as parties will call for them to-night." The "shooting-irons" re- 
ferred to were carbines left with Lloyd by Surratt, Atzerod and 
Herold about five weeks before. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 475 

kill Johnson, and he at once engaged a room in the Kirkwood 
Hotel, where the Vice-President was a guest. 

A few days before. Secretary Seward was thrown from 
his carriage and as a result he was confined to his bed. Her- 
old was instructed to point out Seward's residence to Payne, 
who, upon some pretext, was to gain admission to the mansion 
and kill the Secretary. Herold was then to proceed to the 
assistance of Atzerodt, while Booth was to kill Grant and Lin- 
coln as they sat in the theater. All of Booth's tools accepted 
their orders cheerfully except Atzerodt, who showed but little 
liking for his part of the plot. 

Ten o'clock was the time set for the slaughtering, and 
as that hour approached, Atzerodt rode to the Kirkwood 
House, but his courage fled when he reached the hotel bar 
and he proceeded no further with the business. After partak- 
ing of a few drinks he went into seclusion for the night and at 
sunrise he departed for the home of his boyhood. 

P^vne and Herold proceeded to the Seward mansion about 
10 p. Hi., Herold remaining outside, while Payne, after much 
argument with the servant who opened the door, finally gained 
admission by representing that Dr. Verdi had sent him with 
a bottle of medicine for the Secretary and had instructed him 
to personally explain the directions to the patient. Upon 
reaching the top of the stairs, Payne encountered the Secre- 
tary's son, who stated that his father was asleep and could 
not be disturbed. After some dispute, Payne suddenly drew 
a revolver and struck Young Seward over the head, knocking 
him down. The soldier nurse, hearing the noise, rushed out 
of the sick chamber and Payne stabbed him with a knife. The 
desperate man then rushed to the bed where the prostrate Sec- 
retary was asleep and stabbed him several times about the 
face and neck, inflicting serious but not fatal wounds. 

The commotion had aroused the entire household and an 
attempt was made to overpower Payne, but he broke away 
and, dashing down the stairs to the street, mounted his horse 
and rode away bareheaded, he having lost his hat in the strug- 
gle. At the first cry for help from Seward's house, Herold 
became alarmed and deserted Payne. 


476 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Major Rathbone and Miss Harris 
entered the President's box in Ford's Theater about 8:30 
p. m., while the play was in progress. General Grant changed 
his plans during the day and instead of attending the per- 
formance, went to visit his daughter Nellie. 

About 9:30 p. m.. Booth appeared at the rear entrance 
to the theater with a saddle-horse. He sent for Edward 
Spangler, a scene-shifter, to hold the horse, but as Spangler 
was busy, he instructed another stage-hand to hold Booth's 
horse. The conspirator hovered about the rear of the theater 
until 10:10 p. m., when he proceeded to the President's box, 
suddenly opened the door and drawing a derringer pistol shot 
Lincoln in the back of the head. Major Rathbone sprang at 
the assassin, who dropped his pistol and stabbed the Major in 
the arm. Booth then sprang from the box to the stage, but 
his spur caught in the American flag with which the box was 
draped and he fell on the stage, breaking a small bone near 
his left ankle. He arose immediately and brandishing a dag- 
ger and crying "Sic semper tyrannis," fled out the back 
entrance, mounted his horse and dashed away before the stu- 
pefied audience realized what had transpired. 

The President lost consciousness immediately and died at 
7:22 a. m. the following day. 

It was agreed in advance that Booth and Herold should 
proceed to Surrattsville immediately after the assassination, 
and they met on the road that night and hurried to Lloyd's 
tavern to procure the field-glasses left there by Mrs. Surratt. 
They then repaired to Dr. Mudd's home for the purpose of 
getting medical attention for Booth, arriving about 3 a. m. and 
remaining until daylight. Mudd admitted that he treated a 
man, but claimed that he did not recognize him as Booth. 

Shortly after leaving Mudd, the two fugitives appeared 
at the home of Colonel Samuel Cox, formerly of the Confed- 
erate army. He turned them over to his foster-brother, 
Thomas Jones, who secreted them in a pine forest and sup- 
plied them with food for several days. During this time 
Booth suffered intense pain from his injury, which had been 
greatly aggravated by hard riding and exposure. The leg 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 477 

became useless and he was compelled to use a crutch when 
he walked. 

Secretary of War Stanton detailed La Fayette C. Baker, 
Chief of the Federal Secret Service, to take personal charge 
of the investigation. On April 20 Stanton issued a proclam- 
ation announcing that $100,000 reward would be paid for in- 
formation leading to the arrest and conviction of the conspira- 
tors and warning all persons who aided or harbored the as- 
sassins that they would be executed if convicted of this of- 

On April 24 Booth and Herold stopped at the residence 
of Richard H. Garratt and represented that they were former 
Confederate soldiers who had just had some trouble with 
Federal soldiers, who were looking for them. They were 
given food and permitted to sleep in the tobacco warehouse. 
They remained at Garratt's all day on the 25th inst., and slept 
there again that night. Before reaching Garratt's they met 
a former Confederate Captain named Jett, to whom they con- 
fided the. ■ • deeds and their plans for the immediate future. 
The next day Jett was interrogated by a party of Federal sol- 
diers. He told them all that the fugitives had said and ac- 
companied them to Garratt's place, where they arrived about 
2 a. m., on April 26. 

After some questioning, the Garratts admitted that two 
strangers were asleep in the warehouse. This building was 
then surrounded and the occupants were ordered to surrender. 
Herold obeyed the order and stepped out, but Booth was de- 
fiant. For the purpose of driving him out the building was set 
on fire, but before the fire had gained much headway. First 
Sergeant Boston Corbett, an eccentric individual who was aft- 
erward confined in an insane asylum, fired a shot through a 
crack in the building, the bullet lodging in Booth's neck and 
inflicting a wound which caused his death a few hours later. 
His last words were: "Tell mother I die for my country." 

Two hours after the assault on Seward, Booth's one-eyed 
horse, which Payne rode, was found wandering about the 
streets about one mile from the capitol. 

It will be recalled that Surratt's roommate, Weichmann, 

478 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

informed Captain Gleeson of the kidnaping conspiracy about 
the time it was abandoned. While it was apparent that no 
credence was placed in the story at that time, immediately after 
the assassination Gleeson advised Secretary of War Stanton to 
send for Weichmann, and as a result of the interview, a series 
of investigations were made at the Surratt lodging-house. On 
the third night after the murder, the officers, who had spent 
several hours interrogating the occupants of the house, were 
about to leave when the door bell rang. 

One of the detectives responded and observed that the 
caller answered the description of Payne. He was without a 
hat and clearly showed the effects of exposure. He was 
ushered into the house and stated that he called to see Mrs. 
Surratt about digging a gutter. Mrs. Surratt was called and 
asked if she knew the man, who in reality was Payne, and 
although she had frequently entertained him, she swore that 
she had never seen him before. She and Payne were both 
taken into custody. 

Sam Arnold was arrested at Fortress Monroe on the pre- 
ceding day and O'Laughlin virtually surrendered at Baltimore 
about the same time. 

It developed that Spangler, the scene-shifter who in- 
structed a young fellow to hold Booth's horse, also tried to 
persuade a fellow scene-shifter named Jake Ritterspaugh to 
withhold valuable information from the authorities, and it was 
further shown that while Spangler was preparing the Presi- 
dent's box he cursed Lincoln because "he got so many men 
killed." This information resulted in Spangler's arrest. 

Atzerodt was arrested at Barnsville, Maryland, on April 
20, and Dr. Mudd was arrested on the following day. 

It was the theory of the authorities that the murder of 
Lincoln was committed in the execution of a gigantic con- 
spiracy planned by Jefferson Davis, the President of the Con- 
federacy. This theory was based on testimony given by Stan- 
ford Conover, a former Confederate spy who had a grievance 
against Davis, and three others, all of whom bore unenviable 
reputations and probably committed perjury. It was subse- 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 479 

quently proven that Conover committed perjury and he was 
sentenced to serve ten years at Albany prison. 

President Johnson ordered that nine army officers be de- 
tailed as a military commission to try the defendants, and the 
trials of Mrs. Surratt, Arnold, Mudd, Spangler, O'Laughlin, 
Atzerodt, Payne and Herold began on May 10, 1865.* 

The trials were concluded on June 14, and all of the de- 
fendants were found guilty. Mrs. Surratt, Herold, Atzerodt 
and Payne were sentenced to be hanged, while O'Laughlin, Ar- 
nold and Mudd were sentenced to life imprisonment and Spang- 
ler was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. 

It was the general opinion that Herold, Payne and Atzer- 
odt received their just deserts, but much surprise and indigna- 
tion was expressed at the findings in the cases of Mrs. Surratt, 
Arnold and O'Laughlin. A determined effort was made to 
save Mrs. Surratt from the gallows, but all in vain, as she 
was hanged on the same scaffold with Herold, Atzerodt and 
Payne on ^riday, July 7, 1865. 

While John Surratt was in Canada at the time of the as- 
sassination, the authorities were strongly convinced that he 
was one of the chief conspirators and that he was in Canada 
acting as one of Jeff Davis's agents. A large reward was 
offered for his apprehension, but when it developed that there 
was no evidence to prove that Davis was in any way impli- 
cated in the crime the reward was publicly withdrawn. 

While the excitement was at its height young Surratt es- 
caped to Europe and finally enlisted in the Papal Zouaves at 
Rome, where he was recognized nearly two years later by a 
former associate. The American authorities were notified and 
after much hesitation Surratt was arrested and returned to 
Washington on February 23, 1867. His case, which was tried 
in the Civil Court, dragged along from June to August 7, when 
it was submitted to the jury. After deliberating for three 
days the jury stood 8 to 4 for acquittal and they were dis- 
charged. Surratt remained in prison until June 22, 1868, when 
he was released. 

* John Surratt was still a fugitive from justice. 


480 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

O'Laughlin died in prison on August 18, 1867, during a 
yellow fever epidemic. 

Dr. Mudd, Spangler and Arnold were pardoned by Presi- 
dent Johnson on February 13, 1869. Spangler died on August 
9, 1870, at Dr. Mudd's home, and Mudd died on January 10, 


(From McCabe's "Life of Garfield" and Washington, D. C., 
Police Records.) 

James Abraham Garfield was born in the village of 
Orange, twelve miles from Cleveland, Ohio, on November 
19, 1831. 

When he was two years old his father died, leaving the 
family in straitened circumstances. By the time James 
reached the age of seventeen years he had worked as a farm 
hand, carpenter's helper and boatman. 

Realizing the advantage of an education, which had up 
to this time been sadly neglected, the young man devoted 
all of his spare time to study, with the result that he was 
admitted to Williams College in 1854, where he paid his 
tuition from his savings. Two years later he was graduated 
with the highest honors. 

He was then made Professor of Latin at the Hiram Insti- 
tute. At the age of twenty-six he was appointed President 
of this college. In 1859 he was elected State Senator. 

He was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the Forty- 
second Ohio Regiment on September 25, 1861, and on De- 
cember 17 he was placed in command of the Seventeenth 

On January 10, 1862, he was promoted to the rank of 
brigadier-general because of his gallant conduct in battle, and 
on October 18, 1863, he was made Major-General of Volun- 
teers for gallant conduct at the battle of Chickamauga. 

In 1862, while he was still in the army, the people of his 
home district elected him to Congress, and on December 5, 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 481 

1863, he reluctantly resigned his commission to accept his seat 
in the House of Representatives. 

While still serving as Congressman, Garfield was elected 
to the United States Senate on January 15, 1880, to succeed 
Allen G. Thurman, whose term would expire on March 3, 
1881. At the national convention held in Chicago on June 2, 
1880, Garfield attended as the leader of the delegation from 
Ohio, and made the nominating speech for Sherman, although 
the real battle was between Blaine and Grant until the thirty- 
sixth ballot. 

When the result of the thirty-fourth ballot was announced 
and it was learned that seventeen votes had been cast for 
Garfield, he protested against anyone voting for him without 
his consent. When the next ballot was finished, Garfield had 
fifty votes. The next ballot gave him three hundred and 
ninety-nine votes and the nomination. 

He \ as elected President on November 2, 1880, and in- 
augurated on March 4, 1881. 

Shortly afterward a faction of the Republican party, 
known as the "Stalwarts," became opposed to some of the 
President's policies. 

On the morning of July 2, 1881, President Garfield, ac- 
companied by Secretary Blaine, was waiting at the Baltimore 
and Potomac depot in Washington for a train, upon which 
the President was going on a visit to New England. 

As the President and Blaine were walking through the 
main corridor of the depot, a man walked up and fired two 
shots at Garfield, the first making a harmless wound in the 
upper left arm, and as the President turned suddenly the 
next bullet entered near the back bone. ' 

Mr. Garfield fell heavily and his wounds bled profusely. 
Shortly afterward he was removed to the White House. 

The assassin was immediately captured by Officers Parks 
and Kearney. When the officers dragged him through the 
crowd he shouted in a dramatic manner : 

"Arthur is President now; I am a Stalwart." 

When the prisoner arrived at the jail he made a state- 
ment substantially as follows: 


482 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

"My name is Charles J. Guiteau and I was born in Free- 
port, 111., in June, 1841. My father, who died recently, was 
cashier of the Second National Bank in that town. I have 
a college education and I am a lawyer, theologian and poli- 
tician. I speak French and German fluently. For the past 
two years I have traveled throughout New England deliver- 
ing lectures. 

"I came to Washington on March 6, 1881, and I was an 
applicant for the Consulship at Marseilles, France. 

"About the latter part of May I determined to kill the 
President for the purpose of reuniting the Republican party. 
His death was a political necessity. On June 8 I purchased 
the pistol in Washington and immediately began target prac- 

"On Sunday, June 12, I intended to kill him at the Chris- 
tian Church, but feared I might kill some one else. I then 
learned that he would leave the city on June 18 with his 
wife, so I waited at the depot to kill him, but Mrs. Garfield 
looked so frail I did not have the heart to shoot the President 
in her presence. 

"This morning I paid a colored hack driver $2 to have 
his hack at my disposal at the depot after I shot the Presi- 
dent, but the police intercepted me." 

It was subsequently learned that Guiteau had long been 
regarded as an eccentric but harmless person. 

Several eflForts were made to find the exact location of 
the bullet in the President's body, but without success, al- 
though the physicians knew about where it was lodged. 

Owing to the excessive heat in Washington the Presi- 
dent was removed to Long Branch on September 6, where 
he died at 10:35 p. m., September 19, 1881, over two and 
one-half months after the assault. 

Guiteau was immediately charged with murder. He was 
convicted on January 25, 1882, and was hanged at the United 
States Jail in the District of Columbia on June 30, 1882. 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 483 

(From Fallows' "Life of McKinley.") 

William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio, on January 
29, 1843. His parents being poor, William was compelled 
as a boy to procure employment to assist him in purchasing 
school books. At the age of seventeen he became a country 
school teacher. 

On June 11, 1861, he enlisted with the Twenty-third Ohio 
Regiment, under command of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes. 

On April 15, 1862, McKinley was promoted to Com- 
missary Sergeant, and on September 23, 1862, he was ad- 
vanced to Second Lieutenant. On July 25, 1864, he was 
promoted ti Captain and on March 13, 1865, he was brevetted 
Major. He was mustered out of service on July 26, 1865, 
and began to study law in Poland, Ohio. 

In 1867, he began the practice of law in Canton, Ohio, 
and afterward served foi several years as District Attorney. 

In 1876 he was elected to Congress, and was continuously 
re-elected thereafter until 1890, when he was defeated. He 
rounded out his congressional career with the passage of the 
protective tariff law known as the McKinley Bill. 

He was subsequently elected Governor of Ohio, which 
office he held for two terms. 

At the Republican National Convention held in St. Louis 
in June, 1896, McKinley received the nomination for Presi- 
dent of the United States. He was elected and on March 4, 
1897, was inaugurated. 

In 1900 he was again nominated at the convention held 
in Philadelphia, and in the following November he was re- 

September 5, 1901, was set apart as "President's Day" 
at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, N, Y., in honor 
of President McKinley, who delivered an address to the assem- 
bled thousands. 

On the following day the President attended the exposi- 
tion as a guest, and arrangements were made for a public 

484 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 

reception at the Temple of Music, which was to take place 
at 4 p. m. At the appointed hour the President arrived, ac- 
companied by John C. Milburn, the President of the Exposi- 
tion, Secretary Cortelyou and Secret Service Detectives Ire- 
land and Foster. 

It was arranged for the visitors to pass in single file and 
greet the President. When about one hundred persons had 
shaken hands with McKinley a negro named Parker was 
next in line, and after receiving a pleasant word from the 
President, he gave way to the next man in line, who was a 
quietly dressed, intelligent appearing young man with red- 
dish hair and smooth-shaven cheeks. His right hand was 
thrust beneath the lapel of his coat and a handkerchief was 
wrapped about it in such a manner as to indicate that the 
hand had been injured. He offered his left hand to the 
President, who grasped it. Like a flash the stranger withdrew 
the right hand from the coat and pressing it against the 
President's abdomen fired two shots from the pistol hid in 
the handkerchief; both bullets entering the body. 

The President fell back in a chair and his first words 
were: "May God forgive him." 

The detectives and the negro sprang upon the assassin, 
and after disarming him he was finally taken to jail, after 
a narrow escape from mob violence. 

After rendering first aid to the President at the Fair 
Grounds he was removed to the home of President Milburn. 

On September 11 the physicians announced that the Pres- 
ident was out of danger, although one of the bullets, which 
had passed through the stomach and lodged in the back, had 
not been definitely located. 

On the 13th, however, a change occurred. At 10 p. m. 
he sank into unconsciousness and died the following morn- 
ing at 2:15 o'clock. 

When the assassin was lodged in jail it was ascertained 
that his name was Leon Czolgosz. He stated that he was 
born in Detroit and was twenty-eight years of age. He added 
that he was a disciple of Emma Goldman, but that he alone 

Celebrated Cases East of Pacific Coast 485 

was responsible for his actions, and he believed that he had 
done his duty. 

On September 23, his trial began before Justice Truman 
White. The prisoner pleaded guilty and assumed an air of in- 
difference. No witnesses were examined for the defense and 
on the following day the case was submitted to the jurors, 
who, after thirty minutes' deliberation, found the defendant 

On October 29, he was electrocuted in the State Prison 
at Auburn. He walked quietly to the chair and seated him- 
self. He was then given permission to speak, which he took 
advantage of by saying: 

"r ':illed the President because he was the enemy of the 
good people ; of the working class of people. I am not sorry 
for the crime, that's all there is about it." 

At that moment the current was turned on; his body 
bounded against the back of the chair and the anarchist was 

Several celebrated specialists then held an autopsy and 
found all the organs, including the brain, in a perfectly normal 

A grave had been prepared in the prison yard, into which 
was emptied six barrels of quicklime and a carboy of sulphuric 
acid, and into this seething mass the body of Czolgosz was 

486 Celebrated Criminal Cases of America 


On January 28th, 1885, the Steamer Cephalonia left 
Liveq)ool for Boston. On board were two highly educated 
and refined appearing young Englishmen named Charles Ar- 
thur Preller and a man known as Walter Lennox Maxwell, 
M. D. They were strangers to each other when they boarded 
the vessel, but as they were both Englishmen bound for a 
foreign land, they immediately became quite friendly, and by 
the time they reached Boston, on February 3, they had be- 
come inseparable companions. 

They went to the same hotel, where they discussed a trip 
to Auckland, New Zealand, but as Preller, who was a com- 
mercial traveler, was forced to make a business trip to Can- 
ada and thence to Philadelphia, they agreed to meet in St. 
Louis a few weeks later and arrange the details. Preller 
left for Canada on February 6, but Maxwell remained in 
Boston until March 28, during which time he became finan- 
cially embarrassed and was forced to pawn a watch. 

He arrived in St. Louis on March 30 and proceeded direct 
to the Southern Hotel, where he was assigned to room 184. 

Almost immediately after his arrival the manager of the 
hotel received a telegram signed by Preller asking if Maxwell 
had arrived. Upon receiving an affirmative answer Preller 
started for St. Louis and arrived at the hotel on Friday, 
April 3. 

Maxwell had but $60 at this time, so he endeavored to 
sell some stereopticon apparatus to raise money. 

The two men spent most of their time in Maxwell's 
room. The latter was very effeminate in his manner and a 
letter subsequently found, but which was not fit for publica-